First year of new decade is one to remember … or forget


Madera Tribune File Photo

The sign at Millview Elementary School says it all, after the COVID-19 Pandemic hit Madera County and closed schools and businesses in March. The pandemic is still raging, nine months later. It is the Tribune’s top story of 2020.

For many, the year 2020 was a year to forget or one that will be remembered for the wrong reasons.


Optimism is abound as 2021 is coming right around the corner. Mostly, people are thinking that 2021 will be so much better than 2020, but others are saying that it can’t get much worse.


There were many events that helped identify 2020 as one to remember — for all the wrong reasons.


Who would have thought that wearing a mask would be a fashion trend or that you could walk into a bank or grocery store covering half of your face? How about using the word quarantine or social distancing as many times as you did this year than in the past. Now, those words are a big part of the vocabulary.


Who would have imagined cities basically shut down? Schools closed, businesses shut down, freeways empty, athletics suspended, extracurricular activities canceled and other events shut down. That was the power of the coronavirus: Everyone is hoping it will be done so we can all get back to normal, but with a “new” normal.


One of the best things to come out of 2020 was to see how the community of Madera came together to help each other. The Madera Food Bank was inundated with requests, but also with donations.


The community came together to provide PPE supplies, money and food. They even came together when a two-year-old was missing.


They got together to look for Thaddeus Sran, a two-year-old who needed a feeding tube. He couldn’t walk or talk, but it brought the community together in the middle of the pandemic. Also, the community came together to mourn the loss of Thaddeus when his body was found and his parents were arrested for his murder.


The community also came together to help victims hurt by a fire in the foothills. One of the biggest fires in California history was right in our backyard, and the community came together to help those victims. The Creek Fire became national news and burn steadily for more than a month.


In November, the community saw one of its long-standing buildings burn to the ground: A center where many people went to get a workout or just get a swim in.


The Madera Athletic Club, long since vacated, caught fire overnight in November, and by the time fire fighters came, it was too late. The landmark building was no more.


No matter how people view 2020, what can be seen is how resilient people are. How teachers and students are adjusting to learning over the computer, how restaurants and businesses are adjusting to new guidelines and how the community keeps helping each other.


Just remember, to make 2021 an even better year, keep your mask handy, don’t stand too close to others (remember, six-feet apart), and avoid getting together with people you really don’t know.


Here’s to hoping for a great 2021.

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