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It’s about YOU, the people who are our strength

Today and all through the next week, we celebrate you, the people.

You, who have shown courage through a year unlike any other.

You, who stepped up when others needed your help.

You, who found creative ways to keep on with the traditions of American life here in our local communities, despite what this year has produced.

We are talking about the Sun-Gazette’s annual Person of the Year honors and how we all came together, even though apart, to get through the struggles of what for most has been a disastrous year.

Normally, we look for some shining stars who have stepped up and made a significant contribution to help others in their community.

In past years, we’ve honored community leaders, local sports giants, volunteers and folks involved in the arts, even children who have done something to help their communities.

We look to cast a wide, diverse net to pull together a class of finalists each year, then name one winner of Person of the Year honors.

This year, like the year itself, is different. Yes, there were many worthy individuals whose contributions early in the year was cause for their nominations.

And then the coronavirus hit.

Major challenges were placed in front of us — restrictions, roadblocks, shortages in the supply chain. Loss of jobs. Businesses threatened. The list goes on, including illness and death.

Yet in the face of it all, you, the people, did not give up. You persevered, and more.

You offered what you had to support those hardest hit.

How do you narrow down the field of nominations when so many people rose to the occasion this year?

How do you select just seven individuals or organizations to honor in a year like this?

In many cases, we chose groups of people to honor. Sometimes large groups, as readers will see in the days to come.

We hope you agree with our choices.

This project is very special to us at the Sun-Gazette.

It is our gift to you, our cherished readers.

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