There’s no denying that 2020 was a trying year. While some managed to make it through the COVID-19 storm relatively unscathed, many others lost jobs, family members or simply the ability to grab coffee or watch a movie with friends. The impacts were both great and small, and they were constant.

About a year ago, the pandemic picture still wasn’t too clear. Many businesses were temporarily closed, folks were asked to stay home whenever possible and toilet paper became more valuable than gold, but nobody knew what the full impact of COVID-19 would be or how long we would be living with it.

At the time, reporter Linda McThrall reached out to many of her contacts around the community, asking them what they thought about the situation, what they were doing to cope and what their hopes were following the pandemic. While it’s still too soon to say this mess is in the rear-view mirror, we’re certainly getting closer to that day.

With that “return to normal” seeming like it’s just around the next bend, now felt like a good time to circle back around to those same individuals and see how they’re holding up. These are the words of your neighbors, town leaders, friends, co-workers and strangers you might walk past in the grocery store. We encourage our readers to see what these folks had to say on pages 12A-13A of this week’s issue of The Times.