2018: Challenging, with shining moments, including POY roster

We’ve spent the past week looking back and reflecting on the year 2018. We’ve recalled some of the bigger stories of the year, and in so doing remembered the challenges we faced.

It was a year in which county government had a change of heart with respect to staffing that it had pledged to cut.

It was a year in which city voters went against a movement to change how municipal government here operates.

It was a year in which the drug epidemic that has gripped the nation morphed once again, this time showing itself in a number of meth lab explosions in our rural area.

And it was a wet year, one that taught us new lessons about shutting down schools during summer months, one that will go down in the record books for rainfall.

Yes, 2018 was challenging, but it had its shining moments.

The Sun-Gazette has been running its annual Person of the Year series. It’s been a week of seeing vibrant faces of folks — and even a court dog — who give and give and give. Besides Jedi, Lycoming County’s first courthouse dog, we’ve read about everyday heroes who jumped in at a moment’s notice to save a life.

We’ve read about NBA draft pick Alize Johnson who immediately turned his good fortune around to benefit his community.

We’ve read about another donor, this one anonymous, who provided the means to fix a bridge important to those who live in English Center, and about a group of veterans dedicated to remembering local soldiers who fell during the early wars of our nation.

And then there are the volunteers who took it upon themselves to care for the cemetery in which the city’s founding father rests.

Today we wrap up our annual Person of the Year series by honoring the local law enforcement community for their commitment to protecting and serving, day in and day out, regardless of the dangers of their profession.

Sure, what motivated us to pick them goes back to election night 2017, when a slaying in the Newberry section of Williamsport was followed by the shooting and wounding of a city police officer blocks away and then a wild police chase to Jersey Shore that ended in a shootout in a convenience store parking lot.

Many, many members of the law enforcement community were involved that night — surely more than those who have been publicly identified — and our honor goes to all of them. It also should be noted that our selection of the “brotherhood in blue” is motivated by more than just that one night.

We live in an era when police frequently come under fire and are even targeted at times. Their job has gotten far more dangerous. Entering law enforcement takes great courage, yet these remarkable people step up to the plate and run toward danger at a moment’s notice. That one night underscored that.

So today, as 2018 comes to a close, we honor and salute the thin blue line as the Sun-Gazette’s Persons of the Year.