The new year finds this community poised to continue progress.

For most of us the end of 2020 can’t come quick enough. Goodbye. Good riddance.

It has been a year of challenges, in a sense, a lost year. Families, individuals, businesses largely have been hanging on, waiting for the pandemic to abate and better times to return. For some, it has been catastrophic. There have been empty chairs around too many dinner tables during the holidays.

So as the calendar turns and 2021 arrives, with vaccines beginning to go into arms, all thoughts turn to better times ahead. It will come slowly, not overnight, and will require more diligence and, yes, sacrifice. But with science and public health practices there is hope in the new year.

As is the custom here at the Beloit Daily News, a look back is in order. And, despite the fears and difficulties, 2020 produced plenty to celebrate.

Start with what can only be called heroism. When the novel coronavirus was identified and began to sweep the country, indispensable men and women stepped up. As panic buying set in the community’s grocery workers, truck drivers, mail carriers and others kept pace. When the virus hit the Stateline Area paramedics and first responders fearlessly served. The nurses and doctors and support personnel at Beloit Health System and other regional providers met the needs of the suffering, then and now, at great personal risk to themselves.

Heroism is not what you see in a darkened movie theater in some make-believe yarn with exaggerated special effects.

It’s what we all saw, every day, from the people standing straight and strong in our community. Have you thanked them yet? If not, make sure you do because they’re still working hard to keep you and everyone else safe.

Remember, too, all those in our community—government employees and volunteers—who made it possible to hold safe elections and conduct the 2020 census. Forget, at least for a moment, the political divisions involved and just focus on the selfless work under pressure so many did to allow these critical processes to function. That’s heroism, too.

Meanwhile, opportunity and progress continued in Greater Beloit. The Beloit College Powerhouse was completed. The million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center opened with employment for hundreds. Professional baseball was cemented here with the Beloit Snappers’ acquisition and ongoing construction of a beautiful riverfront stadium. Lovely upscale apartments are being built for downtown living at the former Kerry site on West Grand Avenue. New educational facilities have taken shape in the Beloit Turner School District.

Granted, we’re still glad to put 2020 in the rear view mirror.

Even so, a fair look back suggests the resilience and determination to keep moving forward remains strong in our community.

The new year does not arrive in the Stateline Area to a broken and beaten people, but with citizens ready to take on with vigor the next chapter in an ever-changing story. There’s ample reason to believe 2021 will be a good year for Beloit and beyond.