Welcome! Whether you walked by our front window, follow us on Instagram or just stumbled upon this post on our blog, we are glad you are here! For the past several years, we have counted down the days of December by celebrating exciting events that happened throughout the year – often deals we were involved in or newsworthy events or announcements in our community.
This year has been far from normal, however, and we felt that our normal December countdown wouldn’t do justice to everything that 2020 has held. So instead of celebrating events and announcements, we will be counting down the days of December by celebrating the heroes of 2020!
Thanks for joining us and check back tomorrow for the first celebration…all the way to Christmas!
1. Healthcare Workers
(Doctors, Nurses, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Lab Technicians, etc.)
I don’t think it is possible to overstate how grateful we are for the healthcare heroes in our community and throughout the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year brought new challenges to our health systems. Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Lab Technicians, Nurses and so many others put themselves on the front lines, in harms way, in order to protect and care for those facing illness. In a particularly scary time, our healthcare workers rose to the challenge each and every day (and continue to!) and deserve endless celebration!
2. Janitorial & Cleaning Staffs
Cleanliness may be the biggest trend of the year! From hand sanitizer to Clorox wipes, we have seen cleaning products be a hot commodity, and it has made us even more grateful for the people who help keep our facilities clean and sanitized for us and our families. Today we celebrate all of those individuals who help keep our office buildings, our schools, our retailers, or, perhaps most importantly, our healthcare systems safer to be in!
3. Small Business Owners
Small business owners are the heartbeat of our city. Without a doubt, 2020 has been a hard year for many of them, but the grace, innovation, and strength with which they have handled this year lands them squarely on our list of heroes! For some businesses, this year has meant that they have had to grow their online presence. For others, they have had to pivot their business model or product base entirely to cater to the needs of the year. This holiday season, make sure to support these heroes by shopping local – our community needs these small businesses!
4. Chefs, Restaurant Employees, & Delivery Drivers
To all of those individuals who have helped keep us fed this year, cheers to you! You have had to pivot countless times – from closing entirely, to learning how to operate delivery and takeout services, to focusing on outdoor dining, and many other changes along the way, you have handled this year with grace. As we have spoken with restaurant owners in our community, we are keenly aware that 2020 has been tough, but we continue to be impressed by your hard work and perseverance. We also want to shout out local start-up SwipeBy who has helped many local restaurants navigate this new environment of take out meals!
5. Scientists & Researchers
As the year wraps up, we at least see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. These potential vaccines come from hours upon hours of hard work from scientists and researchers throughout the country. Right here in Winston-Salem, local company Javara has helped facilitate the Phase 3 clinical research study for the Moderna trial! We are so grateful for all of these researchers, as well as the research participants, and the hope that their hard work gives us!
6. Mask & PPE Makers
The “it” accessory of 2020 is, without a doubt, the face mask! Back in February and March, there was a great deal of concern that our communities would not have enough personal protective equipment to keep our healthcare workers safe. In response to that concern, several local companies stepped up to help combat the shortage. One example of this was HanesBrands, who retrofitted manufacturing facilities to create N95 masks for health care workers. Renfro Corporation also helped address the need by helping design and produce the Nightingale mask. This mask was used in Winston-Salem’s Mask the City initiative, which distributed 390,000 masks locally to low-income residents & senior, health care entities, for-profit businesses for their employees, as well as colleges & universities. Lastly, although far from exhaustively, Adele Knits & South Atlantic Packaging, two Winston-Salem companies, partnered together to manufacture and distribute non-medical grade face masks. The contributions of these companies, along with many others, helped prevent layoffs and furloughs, protect members of our community, and ultimately helped slow the spread of COVID-19.
7. Social Workers
Social workers are hard at work everyday in many different facets of our society – from schools, to hospitals, to community development resources, to mental health clinics, and more. Social workers help children, individuals, and families cope with problems in their everyday lives and protect those that are particularly vulnerable. It is no surprise, therefore, that this year has kept social workers particularly busy. In many ways, the pandemic has made vulnerable individuals even more vulnerable. Whether that looks like school-aged children who need additional technological resources, or homeless individuals who do not have access to shelter when released from the hospital, or many of the other vulnerabilities that have been brought to light this year. Through it all, social workers have been working tirelessly to provide care and resources for those they work with.
The impacts of COVID-19 are far-reaching and have impacted our agricultural system and the farmers who help keep us fed. Back in April, when grocery store shelves were more empty than normal, our nation’s farmers were still hard at work to cultivate food for all of us. Even as supply and demand changes posed challenges for farmers this year, these 2020 heroes worked tirelessly to provide for so many of our needs!
9. Public Health Officials
Public Health Officials have been in the limelight for much of this year. They have spent most of 2020 educating the public about the novel virus and working hard to keep our communities safe. They have helped guide discussions on safety measures, quarantine protocols, vaccines and so much more. They have worked hand in hand with healthcare professionals to learn about treatments and preventative precautions to help keep individuals out of harms way. Furthermore, these leaders work with government officials, from the local to the national levels, to help guide appropriate procedures throughout the year. Public health officials across the board are certainly heroes of this year!
10. Government Officials
If asked on the first of the year, what the upcoming 365 days would hold, I doubt that any government official would have answered accurately. While government officials across the country have been working around the clock this year, we want to focus now on celebrating our local officials. These leaders have been working hard to do their best to balance keeping us all safe and healthy, as well as supporting local businesses and other community needs. These individuals rarely get much thanks, but on Day 10 of our countdown, we are celebrating all of their hard work this year!
Do you remember the run on toilet paper back in the Spring? This was just one small example of the many challenges our grocers have faced in 2020! Despite it all, they have done a phenomenal job in helping make sure community members have access to what they need at the store. Furthermore, they have worked hard to make sure that we can all run our errands safely – wiping down carts, enacting distancing measures, adding protective barriers, and more. For many stores, they have even added specific hours reserved just for particularly vulnerable populations to shop. Their hard work and care does not go unnoticed and they are certainly heroes in our book.
Educators are on our list of heroes for any year, but land on this list with a special force in 2020! In the early spring, when the virus was making itself known in the United States, it became obvious that the remainder of the school year was going to look a bit different. “E-learning” became the word of the year and teachers pivoted lesson plans to work in a virtual classroom setting. The fall semester brought new changes for some educators – in-person masked learning in some cases, hybrid classrooms in others, and continued online learning in other cases. These changes happened across the board – whether looking at pre-schools, elementary, middle and high schools, and even in higher education. Educators have rolled with the punches all year long, helping ensure that their students received the care and education that they were accustomed to providing, even if in an entirely different setting. On this twelfth day of the December countdown, we give all of the thanks and celebrations to the educators in our community!
13. Postal Service Workers
This holiday season, our postal workers and delivery service workers are working harder than ever – a trend of this year. As people have gotten more items delivered to their houses to prevent unnecessary outings, our delivery services have been flooded with more deliveries than ever. Add to that an election in which more mail-in ballots were utilized by those uncomfortable with going to polling stations in person, and postal service workers and other delivery service workers have made their way onto our list of 2020 heroes!
14. First Responders
Our first responders are heroes any year, but they are even more so this year!The nature of their job is to put themselves in on the front lines to help others day in, day out, and that did not change, despite it being a year characterized by new normals. The fire fighters, police officers, EMTs and other first responders have continued to work hard to keep our community safe and healthy this year, which makes them heroes to us!
15. Utility Providers
In a year where we have spent more time at home than any other, we have found ourselves even more thankful for the simple luxuries that we have the privilege of receiving in our homes – electricity, heat, air conditioning, clean water. It is easy to flip a switch or turn the thermostat and forget that there are people hard at work making sure that we have access to these things. On day 15 of our countdown, we celebrate the utility providers who help make our homes places of refuge this year! Their work has not stopped this year, despite the world slowing down and we are all grateful for their hard work behind the scenes.
We also think about the many individuals, in our community and beyond, who do not have these same luxuries. Later in our countdown we will celebrate the non-profits in our community helping those in need, but we encourage you to think of our community’s needs today as many of us reflect on our thankfulness for the privileges we can easily take for granted!
Our pharmacists and all of their associates are another group among the many people helping to keep us all safe and healthy this year! In addition to their normal roles in helping manage medications and fill prescriptions, many of these individuals have also been working hard to help administer COVID tests at their facilities. These heroes help all of us to understand our symptoms, receive important medications, administer flu shots, and ultimately keep us safe! In a year where we are more conscious than ever of our health, pharmacists are certainly heroes in our book!
17. Therapists & Counselors
It is no doubt that this year has been a hard one. With so much change and uncertainty, 2020 has definitely taken a toll on people’s mental health. The hard work of therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals has been of the utmost importance for so many this year. These heroes have helped our communities navigate a tough year and maintain hope for the future. Most of the work done by these professionals is very behind the scenes, but today especially, we want to celebrate all that they do!
18. Construction Workers
When so much of the world seemed to stop in the Spring, construction workers remained working as hard as ever! While safety precautions changed to make sure these workers were protected against the virus, the work ethic of these individuals has remained as strong as ever. Locally, we have been able to see progress on a number of different construction projects throughout the year despite the unusual conditions. The work of these individuals in an otherwise strange year merits a position on our list of 2020 heroes!
19. Other Essential Workers
Many of the individuals who have already appeared on our countdown are among those dubbed essential workers this year. That being said, there are many more essential workers that we have not had the chance to call out specifically. To all of those working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our communities functioning, especially during a time in which the world feels as though it has been turned upside down, we thank you for all that you do!
20. All Winston-Salem Non-Profits & Volunteers
This year has been hard on everyone, certainly, but we cannot deny that it has been harder on some than on others. Issues of food insecurity, homelessness, and health disparities have not taken a break in the pandemic. Luckily, our community is fortunate enough to have countless non-profits and volunteers working hard to help those in need.
Below, we have listed a handful of the non-profits that make our community so wonderful, but there are COUNTLESS more! Please join us in celebrating all of their hard work by tagging non-profits in our community that are making a difference this year and beyond!
Second Harvest Food Bank, H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, Samaritan Ministries, Winston-Salem Rescue Mission, Clemmons Food Pantry, The Salvation Army for Greater Winston-Salem, Bethesda Center, Winston-Salem Foundation, United Way of Forsyth County, Ronald McDonald House
21. Family, Friends, & Community
It is undeniable – this year has made each and everyone of us more appreciative of the communities that surround us normally. Whether your community is comprised of family, friends, coworkers, sports teams, interest groups, faith groups, or any other individuals, 2020 has likely affected how you spend time and interact with those you love. We have had to learn new ways to communicate and care for those that we may no longer be able to see face to face and it has made this year tough. So in this crazy year, we are celebrating the family, friends, and community members that have surrounded and supported us this year, making them true heroes in our lives!
Those who are serving as primary caretakers, whether for elderly family members, young children, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or for anyone else, give so much of themselves! This is true in any year, however, in 2020, the sacrifices these individuals make are more apparent than ever. For many caretakers, exposure to COVID-19 has very real and detrimental consequences, which has led to even stricter precautions. For some, this has made this year lonely and scary. Yet caretakers continue to give their time and energy selflessly to care for loved ones. We are always impressed by the ways they attend to those who need them and that makes them heroes to us!
23. Our Clients
As we said a couple weeks ago, this year has been tough on small businesses. In spite of that, we feel incredibly grateful for the ways our clients have continued to support our company this year. Whether you have bought, sold, or leased a property with our help this year, or whether you have simply helped spread the word about our services in our community, we are grateful for you. As we enter into a new year, we remember all of those who have helped make our company what it is!
24. Everyone Else Lending a Helping Hand!
At the outset of this month we said that this year has been an unusual one, and that continues to be true. This list only scratches the surface of those who have gone out of their way to touch the lives of others in 2020. Between the pandemic, economic challenges, and ongoing social disparities, the list of those who have been heroes this year could go on and on. We are grateful for all of those named above and all the others who have leant a helping hand this year. Our community would not be the same without you! From the bottom of our hearts at LTP, thank you and happy holidays!
Thank you for joining us this month as we celebrate some of the heroes of this year. Despite the many challenges 2020 has held, there are many things that have still made this a year to be grateful for at Linville Team Partners. We feel that we are so lucky to be a part of such a vibrant community. We wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a joyous new year.