This year has been tough, but they’ve made it better

Published: 12/17/2020 8:55:56 AM

Last April, a note came across my desk from a reader who wanted to discuss their community project. This was a fairly typical request, and we’re generally happy to help people and organizations get the word out about worthwhile causes.

Except, when I called Candace Abood, I found that she wasn’t looking for a story, an ad or a mention in the paper. She just wanted to use our parking lot.

Candace was new to Concord, but like so many others, she wanted to help in any way she could. So, she started organizing birthday parades for those forced to “celebrate” in the most uncelebrated of times. That meant fire trucks, the National Guard, big personalized signs and lots and lots of cars. With an operation this big, she needed a large parking lot to line up all the vehicles and the Monitor happened to be near a home on her list.

For us, that was an easy yes. But we also knew it was a story worth telling. So, Monitor columnist Ray Duckler gave her a call and told our readers about Candace, her desire to help and, of course, about the many days she had brightened. And photo editor Geoff Forester went out to document one of these events. (You can see a photo on Page 22.)

We’ve been able to tell this story of community spirit, and many, many others, over the past nine months. But we also know that we’ve barely scratched the surface. So many people are helping in so many ways.

This year will be remembered for many things – namely those loved ones we’ve lost along the way. It’s also been a year of intense debate over issues of race and politics. Those discussions have never been more important. But as journalists, our job is to accurately reflect the world around us, and we see a lot of good everyday, too.

With that in mind, we launched our 2020 Hometown Heroes special publication. In the following pages, you’ll read about just some of the people who have dedicated themselves to lifting up the world around them in ways big and small.

When we set out to tell their stories, we knew this needed to be a reader-driven effort. So, we turned it over to you to nominate those you felt were deserving of special recognition. We also knew their recognition shouldn’t end on these pages. To do that, we created an advertising program that allows the recipients to pay it forward. That means each person or group recognized in this section can designate a nonprofit agency of their choosing to receive a $500 credit with the Monitor. Throughout 2021, we’ll work with those nonprofits to help them get the word out through print, digital and email so they can reach new supporters and volunteers. Like all of us, they’ll have lots to accomplish in the coming year.

Among the recipients for Monitor advertising services are Friends of Forgotten Children, Best Buddies, the SPCA, NAMI NH and plenty of others.

We’d also like to thank the businesses that are supporting us in recognizing our Hometown Heroes.

Our local economy has taken quite a hit since March, and if there’s ever a time to think, act, read and buy locally, it’s now.

And finally, this whole project is really one big giant “Thank You” to the community, from health care workers, first responders and teachers to the many essential workers who have reshaped their lives to make ours a little more comfortable.

We won’t be sad to see 2020 go, but we’ll be sure to remember all those who’ve contributed in our most challenging time.

Steve Leone

Publisher




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