We always have each other.

Those words probably are overused, and they’re definitely cliché. But there really isn’t a better way to sum up what we’ve witnessed unfold in our community during one of the most difficult years in generations.

It’s also the thing for which we’re most thankful on a day when many of us take stock and give thanks.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of things to bring us down at the moment. Three weeks ago, the presidential election put numbers to the immense division that continues to pit Americans against one another. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to thrash our country, a second wave washing over our communities, and testing our health care system. And our economy continues to flounder as restrictions meant to help curb the rapid spread of disease pummel small businesses and low- and moderate-income families.

But having our neighbors to lean on during the trials and tribulations of a year like the one we’re living through is invaluable. And it isn’t as common as you might think in a country and society that has become increasingly separated by technology and divided by politics.

Yet, somehow, the folks in our orbit come together to support their neighbors.

Communities across northern Michigan — especially those in the Grand Traverse region — have stepped up to make the best of the worst. Our journalists have witnessed and reported on countless junctures when people in our communities have come through for one another. They sewed masks for front-line workers. They donated time and expertise to help local nonprofits adapt to massive demand that arrived in lockstep with immense disruption. And they dug deep to flood emergency relief funds with with cash needed to help catch many who suddenly found themselves on unstable ground.

The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation alone pulled together nearly $725,000 in contributions to its Urgent Needs Fund between March and late October, and distributed nearly $650,000 to local organizations that needed a boost to continue their work or meet the needs of our community.

That support hit close to home for us as dozensof donors chipped in to help fund part of the Record-Eagle’s growing partnership with Report for America, a fundraiser launched by local author and former Record-Eagle journalist Cari Noga. Hundreds of others chose to support local journalism — to support our reporters, photographers, delivery drivers, press staffers, advertising consultants and editors — by simply subscribing to the Record-Eagle.

When we consider the challenges this year has presented both for our community and our newspaper, we count ourselves lucky to call this place home. To enjoy the privilege of serving our neighbors whose efforts make the Grand Traverse region such a special place.

It’s easy to appreciate an idyllic, lakeside community when times are good, but it’s when our world seems bent on crumbling we are reminded of the things for which we are truly thankful.

Our neighbors.

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