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Plenty to be thankful for despite difficult year

Dear editor,

As 2020 comes to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on challenges that were unimaginable just twelve months ago. Yet during the Christmas season, we are filled with spiritual contemplation and profound gratitude. God has blessed Alabama with so many unselfish individuals, turning what could have been a year of regret into one of inspiration.

We saw it from those on the front line of every Alabama healthcare facility, individuals of courage who fought through fatigue to confront with nearly infinite energy an enemy previously unimaginable. This also includes paramedics, ambulance operators, and fire departments, who often are the first on the scene in an emergency.

We witnessed our heroic police officers turn divisive rhetoric into an opportunity for healing, going beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of our communities. From Decatur to Eufaula to Pritchard, they also have helped organize food drives to help local residents who could not afford groceries.

Birmingham Police Officer Lane Harper, who founded The Power of Life Foundation to provide basic human needs to individuals across the nation, drove throughout the Southeast passing out free masks.

Union Springs Officer Kacey Mays risked his life trying to save a baby who couldn’t breathe due to Covid-19. Though the baby tragically did not survive, Officer Mays and his wife helped raise money to cover the funeral costs for the grieving family.

Police officers teamed up with 94-year-old Fayette County resident Ed Higinbotham, who personally made 300 toy cars so local children would experience a much-needed level of joy on Christmas.

We observed teachers throughout our state draw deep from their well of love toward their students, ensuring that our youngest citizens will mature into individuals of knowledge, integrity, and judgement.

The Apostle Paul, in the Book of Corinthians says, “And now we abide faith, hope, charity; the greatest of these is charity.” Alabama is one of the most charitable states in America, a fact we’ve borne witness to in these trying times.

2020 could have been a year in which this state took a step back. Thanks to the goodness of our people—performing acts of generosity when we needed them most—we are instead transcending the perils of a pandemic and providing the light of optimism for all to see. Our best days lie ahead.

Bart Starr, Jr. grew up in Green Bay, WI, and has lived in the Birmingham area for decades. He is a small business owner who supports a boys ranch founded by his parents, as well as other charities.  He and his wife Elaena cherish the values and unselfishness that make Alabama such a wonderful place to live.

Bart Starr, Jr.

Birmingham

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