‘I’m so grateful’

The challenges of 2020 have touched us all. But even during a pandemic, Alaskans expressed many reasons to pause and say thank you to others.

It has been a year like no other, but Alaskans still have plenty to be thankful for.

We asked ADN readers who you wanted to publicly thank this year, and you responded. The stories rolled in, about lost and found car keys, a grocery cashier who spotted a customer $20, friends who showed up for every chemo appointment.

You recognized people close to you, like a sister thanking her brother’s care for their aging mother, as well as people whose names might never be known, like a man who had a heart attack and received care from three different teams of nurses and doctors.

You thanked people who have made this pandemic year a little better: diligent employees, creative teachers, neighbors who do things like build sledding hills and fix broken driveways.

Thanks to all who told us their stories.

Here are some of your reasons to be grateful.

Kara Monroe, Anchorage

Kara Monroe’s neighbor Jay Johnson turned an empty lot into a sledding hill for neighborhood kids.

For a long time, a corner lot sat empty and overgrown in Kara Monroe’s Airport Heights neighborhood. Then her neighbor Jay Johnson turned it into a sledding hill for her 3-year-old son Jacob and other neighborhood children.

“He removed broken fencing, shoveled snow, added hay bales for safety and even cut out, painted and hung a wooden sign,” Monroe said. He even put up a sign: “Jake’s Run.”

Johnson has been in the Sunrise Drive area for decades, Monroe said, and has done plenty of other neighborly things, like giving her son a kite to fly and watching over the street for safety.

The sledding hill has helped bring the neighborhood together at a time when that’s hard to come by, Monroe said. In this pandemic winter, it’s cold, and hard to get kids outside and “it would be really easy to sit inside and watch TV,” Monroe said.

Jake’s Run has become a place where kids can get some outdoor time while parents can chat in a physically distant way, Monroe said.

“It’s such a joy to watch the kids have a blast and burn some energy while we’re all stuck at home,” she said. “Thank you so much, Jay.”

Cathryn Kiana, Anchorage

Nurses helped Cathryn Kiana get through her mother’s illness and death.

Ten days after the death of her mother, Cathryn Kiana sometimes feels angry. But she has to catch herself. Even through a fog of grief, she’s grateful for the kindness of the doctors and nurses of the intensive care unit at Providence Alaska Medical Center. They were a steadying presence in overwhelming times.

“I would thank them. ... It almost felt like family was with us,” Kiana said. “I’d love to give them a hug, but that’s not going to work. Not right now.”

Kiana drove her mother, Carolyn Wright, to the emergency room in early November because of flu-like symptoms. She expected to pick her up later that day, but Wright had pneumonia and was admitted. The following day, Wright had a heart attack and was rushed into surgery.

“Ever since that moment, the nurses have stayed by my side,” Kiana said.

Several other heart attacks followed that week. Kiana said the ICU nurses who cared for Wright, especially Dave Rico and Ron Mills, warmly and patiently explained what was happening each day. Though she sometimes worried she was bothering them, they reassured her otherwise.

“Dave the nurse would call me every two hours with an update on my mom, good or bad,” she said. “When my mom was intubated and couldn’t speak and was sedated, they set up FaceTime with a tablet so I could do what I need to do and still watch her.”

Kiana, 50, said she and her mother were a team. Thirteen years ago, Wright packed up her belongings and moved to Alaska from California to help Kiana, who was going through a divorce and has five kids. Kiana said Wright hated the cold, but loved her family. She’d give her grandkids her last penny or her last candy. If Kiana told one of the kids no, Wright might tell them yes when Kiana wasn’t looking.

“Typical grandma,” Kiana said.

Living together had ups and downs, but ultimately the two had each other’s backs.

“For my mom to give up her entire life somewhere that she’s loved to come up here, there’s nothing I could ever do to say thank you,” she said. “How can you show it? How can you say it?”

Five days after Wright was admitted, Kiana got an unsettling call from the hospital. She needed to come in to have a talk with the health care team before dawn. Once there, she said Dr. Clara Monheit didn’t rush the conversation.

“She took me back into the conference room when we decided to take my mom off of life support, and just sat with me as long as I needed and let me cry,” Kiana said.

“When they decided that there was nothing they could do, because her heart was so broken, they stayed with me every single minute of that time and supported me,” she said.

Wright died on Nov. 7. She was 74.

A few days later, Kiana returned to work at Samson Electric so she could be surrounded by supportive co-workers and because it was better than being alone. It’s going to be a difficult holiday season this year, she said. There are already gifts under the tree for her mom.

The gift the ICU team gave Kiana was inclusion, and she’s grateful.

“I felt like I had some control over the situation, that I knew what was going on. I didn’t have to sit there and twiddle my thumbs and worry and make myself sick,” Kiana said. “They went above and beyond. I can’t be mad at them, although I need somebody to blame sometimes.”

Sophie Jonas, Anchorage

When she came up short for groceries, a cashier offered $20.

It was a rainy, bleak Anchorage day about a month ago. Sophie Jonas stopped at New Sagaya City Market to pick up some ingredients for dinner: an onion, some vegetables and a drink. She threw in a Snickers bar at the last minute.

When she tried to pay for the roughly $18 of groceries, her debit card was declined. She realized she’d forgotten to move money to replenish her account.

To her surprise, the cashier pulled out a $20 bill from her own pocket and insisted on covering the groceries herself. The cashier told her not to worry — she’d been there before.

“I was speechless,” said Jonas, a legislative aide who lives in the South Addition neighborhood, a month later.

Jonas protested, but the cashier insisted. It was the kind of small act that makes you just feel better about a world that felt off-kilter and distressing at the time, Jonas said.

Jonas said she’s been carrying around $20 in her wallet, in case she sees the cashier again. But she hasn’t. She wants to publicly thank the cashier, and let her know that her kindness didn’t go unnoticed.

“During these times little things like that just kind of give you hope,” she said. “It made me really grateful for the Anchorage community.”

Don and Annette Rearden, Anchorage

Bear Valley neighbors cleared a path as the couple confronted cancer.

Annette Rearden struggled to ski in February. Training for the Tour of Anchorage seemed unusually difficult for the normally fit and athletic 43-year-old. She expected a diagnosis of pneumonia or bronchitis when she visited an urgent care clinic on a Saturday.

“I didn’t have any endurance. I just couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I asked for an X-ray, because I’m a nurse and sort of bossy.”

The X-ray showed something else. A bagel-sized tumor filled a space between her sternum and her heart and lungs. It took two weeks to confirm what had been suspected: Hodgkin lymphoma.

Her husband, Don Rearden, a writer and UAA professor, said the news was terrifying. The emerging pandemic situation at the time only compounded their fears. Who knew how medical care might be restricted by the spreading coronavirus?

Annette and Don said friends and neighbors began clearing a path for them before they could take their first steps toward treatment.

Annette’s UAA colleagues took over the nursing classes she had been teaching. Friends connected her with other Hodgkin’s survivors for advice. Friends took care of their kids, Atticus, 9, and Saoirse, 4. Neighbors watched the house and their dogs, Dolce and Hawkeye.

Two neighbors repaired Rearden’s sloped driveway, which had been lumpy and pitted. That involved hauling in gravel and grading it smooth.

“Food would just magically appear,” Don said. “Left at our doorstep,” Annette added.

“I love that they didn’t also give us an option. I think sometimes that’s the best thing ...” Annette said. “It’s nice not to have to make any more choices.”

Each act of kindness removed a worry as Annette faced two months of chemotherapy treatments, some of which she spent fighting through sickness. It also helped them spend a month in Seattle, where she received radiation treatment.

“Our neighborhood is full of exceptionally warm, caring, compassionate humans,” Annette said, standing on the deck of their Bear Valley home on a blustery morning.

“We’re so used to being independent and doing everything ourselves …” Don said. “I didn’t realize how much I needed that.”

Two days before they told the story, Annette received news that she was slow to absorb at first. She made the doctor on the other end of the phone read the report to her out loud, but the summary was simple: No sign of cancer detected in her most recent PET scan.

“I could feel it in my cells,” she said of the news when it finally sank in.

Don, who grew up Bethel and other villages of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, said there was a time he thought the spirit of community didn’t exist in quite the same way in Anchorage as it did in Western Alaska. Now he knows that’s not true.

“It’s been a powerful lesson for us in community and in giving,” he said.

That same day, friends brought fancy Champagne and joined Annette and Don outside their home.

“We clinked to science, and we clinked to the people that have supported us on this journey,” Annette said. “I firmly believe that’s why we’re here.”

Mike Plotnick, Douglas

A self-described “super fit guy,” he had a heart attack in his yard. Nurses and doctors in three different places helped to save his life.

On Oct. 23, Mike Plotnick was hauling wood in his North Douglas yard when he felt an unfamiliar and foreboding sensation.

The 60-year-old, despite being a skier in top physical shape, realized he might be having a heart attack.

He rushed to the emergency room of Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau. Soon, he was unconscious. Doctors and nurses worked to pull him from the edge of death.

“I went code blue and they resuscitated me,” Plotnick said.

When he awoke, he was heading to Anchorage on a medevac flight. From there, he underwent a procedure to place a stent at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

Now, home in Juneau and recovering, Plotnick feels like he has a second chance at life. He has some gratitude to share: Thanks to the nurses and doctors who saved him in the ER; to the medevac crew that safely flew him from Southeast Alaska to Anchorage, equivalent to the distance between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City; to the doctors and nurses who gave him life-saving surgery in Anchorage and cared for his recovery — all at a time when the medical system is under intense pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every step of the way, “the nurses and doctors were kind, and they were compassionate and professional,” Plotnick said.

Now, Plotnick wants to find a way to communicate the risks of heart attack that exist even for otherwise healthy and physically fit people. He hopes to get back to skiing in the new year — and if that’s not possible, chart a new path for his time.

“Nothing like a brush with death to focus the mind,” he said.

LeeAnn Garrick, Anchorage

While this CITC executive works, her husband handles things at home.

When the pandemic brought daily life to a standstill for many, LeeAnn Garrick’s work intensified. As chief operating officer for Cook Inlet Tribal Council, she supervises programs that serve people who are unemployed, homeless, seeking addiction recovery or experiencing family distress.

LeeAnn doesn’t want anyone looking for help to find a locked door.

“We want to be here where people need us,” she said.

LeeAnn’s not sure how she could show up each day if it weren’t for her husband, Lincoln Garrick. Since spring, he has taken the lead in making sure their 10-year-old daughter, Iris, manages school from home. He cooks the family’s dinners. He walks the dog several times a day.

Oh, and he manages his own career as an Alaska Pacific University business administration professor on top of it all.

LeeAnn describes him as “nonplussed” by the challenges. Somehow, he even makes it seem fun. He plans Friday movie nights. He built a 12-foot candy slide for Halloween trick-or-treaters. He planned silly activities into intensive coursework for his students.

“I’m always like ‘Gosh, how does this not bother you?’ Because I sometimes get these anxious moments,” LeeAnn said.

Recently, LeeAnn read a news story that said many female executives nationwide have left their jobs to take care of their families during the pandemic.

“I’m really thankful that he completely understood that I wanted and needed to be here,” she said, standing outside her East Anchorage office building. “I think about my parents. The gender dynamic in the family wouldn’t have been like that at all.”

LeeAnn, 48, said this year has been a reminder of the reasons she was drawn to Lincoln, 49, back when she was a student and he was a clerk at REI.

The Garricks celebrated their 20th anniversary in August with a kayaking trip near Seward. She planned the outing, she said, but Lincoln planned the meals and packed all the bags.

Aadika Singh, Anchorage

In an unfamiliar new town, a coffee shop helps a family build community.

In July, Aadika Singh, her husband and baby boy packed up their lives in Washington, D.C., and moved 4,265 miles west, to Anchorage.

Singh had accepted what she calls her dream job, as an attorney at the ACLU of Alaska. But making the move, mid- pandemic, meant leaving behind families, friends, professional networks, a tight neighborhood and a church community.

For Singh, who describes herself as an “extreme extrovert,” being in a new city, combined with the circumscribed work and social life of the pandemic, led to a sense of deep isolation.

“I had heard about Alaskans being really friendly,” Singh said. “But it’s not the responsible thing to do right now to try to connect with people in person.”

For a while “it felt like we have no one here,” said Singh.

Then the family started making a habit of dropping by Side Street Espresso, a downtown coffee shop. The owners, George Gee and Deb Seaton, embraced the family, treating them warmly and even introducing Singh to other professionals in her field. Side Street has become a place to connect, and what feels to Singh like the beginning of finding a like-minded community in Anchorage.

She wants to thank George and Deb, the shop owners, for going far beyond making coffee, welcoming her family at a time when that’s not always easy.

“I’m so grateful to them that they made us feel at home.”

Mishelle Rose Kennedy, Palmer

Through breast cancer treatment and surgeries, Diane O’Neill was there.

Mishelle Kennedy met Diane O’Neill almost 20 years ago, when the two worked together as graphic designers in Anchorage.

They lost touch, but rekindled a friendship after a run-in at Fred Meyer years later.

When Kennedy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, it was O’Neill who “immediately volunteered” to help. Kennedy took her up on the offer, and found a steadfast friend.

While Kennedy underwent grueling chemotherapy treatment, O’Neill came over to clean her cat’s litter box daily, because coming in contact with it could increase risk of infection. She cooked and dropped off meals for Kennedy, and even offered financial help.

“She never asked for anything in return,” Kennedy said.

During her treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, “I knew anytime, even in the middle of the night, I could call her if I needed help.”

Recently, Kennedy underwent another major surgery. O’Neill drove out to Palmer to help her.

“Diane came and stayed the night with me, and got me to the surgery center at 8:30 in the morning,” Kennedy said.

O’Neill doesn’t help people for recognition or even thanks, Kennedy says.

“I just want the acknowledgement and the affirmation of the positive effect she has on other people’s lives,” she said. “She’s a genuinely kindhearted person who really cares.”

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In their own words

Many other people wrote in to share their experiences and gratitude. Read a selection below.

People Mover and AnchorRIDES employees have worked tirelessly to keep service on the street and get people to where they need to go throughout the pandemic. These essential workers stay on the job serving our community- even if you don’t ride the bus. Transit workers are truly some of the unsung heroes in this crisis! — Jamie Acton, Anchorage

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Dr. Eileen Ha for being an amazing leader/employer! She’s long been known for her understated intelligence and thoughtful consideration. This year has brought new challenges with personal and professional impact of the pandemic. She has risen to the occasion (actually countless occasions as the pandemic has gone on and on) to ensure continued care for patients and a safe and supportive work environment for staff. — Stephanie Richardson, Anchorage

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I would like to thank Harold Richards of Anchorage. I had to fly from North Carolina to Anchorage in August for a back surgery at Alaska Native Medical Center. Harold did not back down to help a family member. He is one of the best people that I know! I owe him everything and it will not be forgotten. — Michael Nordahl Jr., North Carolina

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I would like to thank Naomi B. of Anchorage. During this solitary period of being stuck indoors, away from social activities, the simple act of receiving a handwritten letter makes my day. Naomi has taken the time to send me multiple cards with heart warming messages inside. Her positive outlook and funny anecdotes is what I admire most about her. I look forward to the mail coming, and that is something I haven’t looked forward to in years. — Suzy DeSaw, Anchorage

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I would like you to recognize the creators of two FB groups: Corona Virus 907 was instrumental in getting information and assistance to many Alaskans during the first hunker-down period; and Anchorage Covid Supplies Sharing Group continues grassroots effort to help residents of Anchorage. Lastly, John at Perfectionist Auto personally made over 1000 face shields for medical personnel. Heroes! — Tam Agosti-Gisler, Anchorage

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I would like to thank all the people who kept our polls open and worked hard to ensure a fair, safe election. So many things have just gone wrong in 2020, but knowing that my vote counted made things a little easier. — Lynn Fuller, Palmer

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I would like to thank Katey Inman, owner of Anchorage Yoga, for her dedication to our local yoga community. She has managed to adapt her business during this pandemic to continue to offer a place to practice, whether it be the studio or at home. The challenges she’s faced have been difficult and I’m inspired by her resolve. — Haley Wilkinson, Anchorage

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I would like to publicly thank Rosey Robards, the director of the Alaska Teen Media Institute. She has gone above and beyond to support me and other student reporters during the pandemic. Since I met Rosey in 2016, she has helped me develop my passion for journalism and has proved to be someone I can always depend on. — Quinn White, Anchorage

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Thank you to my dear lifelong schoolmate, Bobbie Robinson and her husband John Robinson of Palmer for welcoming us back to Alaska! We moved here in May amid the pandemic and have gotten such welcoming meals and support from them that we consider them family. — Monique Vondall-Rieke, Eagle River

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I would like to thank Don and Katie Kessler for their incredible guidance and hands-on assistance with my move to Alaska this year. Not only did they help with my search in finding a place to live and finding a car, they allowed me to live with them for two months rent-free during that time (even enduring my off-key singing to classic country songs). They have also introduced me to several wonderful Alaskans who have also shown me great kindnesses as well. — Lucy Goodwin, Anchorage

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De Armoun Station Firefighters: I called 911 for help when I checked on an elderly friend and found she had fallen in the bathroom and she had been there overnight. Three firefighters showed up and had the training and skills to move her. They spent another half-hour fixing her broken chair so she had a safe place to sit and recover. I so appreciate your kindness, and the extra care you gave for her ongoing safety. — Susan S., Anchorage

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Alexandra (Lexi) Hill. She has been an amazing colleague who, even though she has changed positions at UAA, continues to provide support and advice to those of us in her former workplace. She is one of the hardest working people I know as well as a really generous friend. — Diane Hirshberg, Anchorage

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I want to thank the hard working staff of the Alaska Court System who have kept the courts open every business day since the pandemic began. They processed thousands of filings and orders, and made hearings and trials run smoothly. I am so grateful for their commitment to provide access to justice during these challenging times while adapting to changes to keep everyone safe. — Stacey Marz, Anchorage

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Mike Murray is the manager of the Safeway in Kodiak. His store not only provides for the general population in Kodiak, it also serves the outlying and remote areas including villages, summer fish camps and fishing boats in the North Pacific. Mike has kept everybody on the island in groceries during the pandemic. His professionalism, grace under pressure and general friendliness is so appreciated. — Deborah Carver, Kodiak

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I would like to thank Stonetree Veterinary Clinic and Island Pharmacy for all they do, including bringing medications out to our car and having so much patience with all that is going on. — Melody Herrington, Ketchikan

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Sandra Jackson, from Kodiak, developed a Kodiak Strong webpage. I found out what places were providing pick-up, where I could get a COVID test, the COVID numbers for the community, school updates, among many other important information. Sandra included vetted articles about wearing a mask, vaccines, testing, along with the needs of our hospital facilities. — Fran, Kodiak

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I would like to thank folks who wear masks when unable to socially distance. It is not a political statement and has nothing to do with restricting personal freedom. It is a measure recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to protect the mask wearer and others from COVID-19. Wearing a mask is an expression of love, not fear. Thank you! — Santa Claus, North Pole

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I would like to thank Michelle Anderson who is Ahtna, Inc. president. She uplifts her people with words of encouragement and wisdom. I love that she talks with elders for decisions, her commitment for the well being of every community and for our cultural traditions to be honored. Thank you for making the people your priority. — Ramona Justin, Chistochina

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I’d like to thank Christine and Duane Hill of Alaska Auction Co. for their friendships. Even though I live in Washington State their frequent communications over the phone has helped me get through the lockdown of the last eight months. They talk to me about anything and everything and I feel closer to them than my relatives who live close by. Their everyday connection with me and my sister have helped us in not feeling so isolated. — Cliff Brulotte, Yakima, Wash.

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Thank you Dr. Anne Zink for your leadership. Your calm demeanor and steadfast guidance throughout Alaska’s year of 2020 has been invaluable. You have saved lives and reduced life-altering illness for many fellow Alaskans. — Leif Lunøe, Anchorage (One of several people to thank Dr. Zink)

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Linda Sawyer is my office manager and has gone above and beyond to keep our patients safe while balancing our mission to provide excellent care. Her dedication, attention to detail, willingness to adapt and remain positive are to be celebrated and are cherished. I am incredibly grateful. — Mary Totten, Anchorage

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Dr. Tom Quimby — emergency medicine physician and head of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center’s COVID-19 task force. Dr. Quimby has been a leader in the community and among Mat-Su physicians throughout the pandemic. He is not only up to date on all of the science but able to translate the information for all members of our community. He has worked tirelessly both in the emergency room, with schools, with the Borough, and other groups. — Katie Naylor, Palmer

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I would like to thank my middle school students for being an inspiration, leading with hope and humor. They are brave and compassionate young people. — Joanna Hinks, Anchorage

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I would like to thank every essential worker out there. You guys are doing an amazing job keeping us safe. Although you might not see it, we truly appreciate everything you do. — Tina Ndour, Anchorage

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I would like to thank Rosanna McGinnis in Seldovia for starting a meditation group that meets almost daily. This mindfulness group is small but strong. Because she is so generous, she shares her practice with us every day. We love Mindful Seldovia. — Tracy Philpot, Seldovia

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All members of the UAA Gymnastics Team. They’ve been amazingly tough throughout the difficult year, being on the chopping block after this season and not even having the opportunity to compete this season. Thank you for sticking with us! — Marie-Sophie Boggasch, Anchorage

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The MOA Parks and Recreation Department. I am a park clean-up volunteer at Kanchee Park. When graffiti, hazard trees, or signage — things out of my control — happened, the MOA was on it. I would leave a message on their hotline, and they responded. They are not just responsive, they are also very friendly. — Sean Dewalt, Anchorage

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Caroline Robbins, deaf education teacher at Juneau School District, has provided amazing support to her students throughout the pandemic and continues to go above and beyond. You have been a lifesaver. — Michelle Charles, Juneau

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We would like to thank Anne Marie Moylan, our online yoga teacher. Annie has tirelessly encouraged us with her customized classes, whether we can pay or not. She shows up with a smile, words of inspiration, and dependability four times a week. We’ve had the chance to take regular classes from the comfort and safety of our homes now for 8 months. We can feel the improvements, feel our confidence growing, and we love the camaraderie. — Mary Katzke, Anchorage

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Thank you for the opportunity to share my gratitude for my amazing staff at Northern Air Cargo. As essential workers, they have consistently and safely shown up day after day to keep the mail, freight, and food flying to Rural Alaska. While more business is being done via e-commerce, someone has to handle those shipments in person to make sure they arrive. It’s hard, honest work and I’m deeply grateful for everything they have been doing to serve our customers. — Gideon Garcia, Anchorage

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I would like to thank Susan Perry in the long range planning section at the Municipality of Anchorage. Sue has showed up every day to the office during the pandemic while planners have mostly worked from home. We can depend on Sue to search folders, find files, forward emails, give us contact information, and make sure our projects keep moving. — Kristine Bunnell, Anchorage

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I went for a walk at Campbell Tract and didn’t realize my car key fell out of my pocket until I returned to the parking lot. I would like to thank whoever found the key, unlocked the driver door, and left the key in the car. I felt such a rush of gratitude, following several minutes of utter panic. — Cheryl, Anchorage

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I would like to thank everyone who is staying home, social distancing, and properly wearing a mask. It may seem like nobody cares about the personal sacrifices you are making, but I do, and I’m sure many others do as well. Don’t give up! — Lina Ireland, Anchorage

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I would like to thank my brother Josh Whittaker who for months during the early pandemic single handedly took care of our 92-year-old mother, attending to her daily needs, taking her out on drives, finding movies to watch and maintaining a safe home. For this and his ongoing support mom is able to age in place comfortably. Mom’s regular caregiver has now returned and together they make the best team we siblings could hope for! — Juno Whittaker, Olympia, Wash.

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The Mears Middle School teachers that are trying to help my son learn! — Emily Waters, Anchorage

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Deb Whitecar has been such a rock in the community through this pandemic time. She shares needed information, reminds people to care for each other, and checks in on people’s mental health as well as their physical health. I really appreciate her. — Sarah Rainbow, Talkeetna

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This year has been tough for everyone especially for my family. I want to thank all of the nurses, doctors, patient care technicians, and all of the medical staff at The Children’s Hospital at Providence. I want to thank them for the care our child received during the prolonged stay. They have truly changed our life and outlook on it. — Julie L., Anchorage

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I would like to thank all of the doctors and nurses at the many medical facilities I have ended up at in the last 2 months because of ongoing illness. I have been cared for with much love and respect and I thank you. I would also like to thank Christ Church for providing a place of refuge through zoom. And last but not least I would like to thank Christy Williams and Beth and Jason Allen for their never ending love and support throughout my life. I love and appreciate all of you. — Marla Mosher, Anchorage

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I want to thank Helen and Joan Lindemuth, Dave Bauer and Kathy Minyon and Rupert, and Jeeni Jurvig and Russell Pounds for keeping us in food during our covid vigil, and for being the kinda people who are there when you need them. — Stephanie Rhoades, Anchorage

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I would like to thank Brigette Hofmann for single handedly making over 5,700 face masks since the beginning of the pandemic. She selflessly makes and distributes these masks for free and on her own time. She’s one of the most amazing human beings I have ever encountered. Many people are grateful for her help and friendship. — Kelly Wilson, Anchorage

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I’d like to thank the entire staff, both classified and certified, of Rocky Mountain School in Goodnews Bay for their continued efforts to providing our students with engaging lessons while we are in remote learning phase. They are putting in countless hours designing lessons, filming themselves teaching, airdropping the lessons onto devices, delivering food and lessons to the students’ homes and calling each student every school day. I am honored to work with this fabulous team. — Karin Halpin, Goodnews Bay

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I would like to thank all the staff at Girdwood Health Clinic and especially Shoshana Kinsler, ANP for the effective and loving care given to my brother, Marty McCloskey for the past year and a half after his cancer diagnosis.0He finally succumbed on November 13, having outlived multiple prognoses. As family living outside Alaska, we depended on Shoshana’s monitoring and connections with specialists. Having the clinic a mile away enabled Marty to continue to live in his home and in his community. — Maryjane Finne, Fanwood, N.J.

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I would like to thank the employees at Carrs on Gambell in Anchorage. They stay friendly and polite when dealing with some of the situations that occur there. One employee in particular whose name I don´t recall works especially hard at keeping all the various handles sanitized. I want them to know they are appreciated. — Anonymous, Anchorage

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I am extremely thankful for my daughters. I recently was diagnosed with Cancer and am undergoing chemotherapy. If it wasn’t for them I would be in very bad shape. A dear friend helped me financially. My co-workers sent me a care package. Alaska is full of love and caring. — Kari Peters, Palmer

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Is there someone you’d like to thank? Use the form below.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.

Marc Lester

Marc Lester is a multimedia journalist for Anchorage Daily News. Contact him at mlester@adn.com.