For the past couple of weeks I have been paging through copies of the Gazette reminding myself of the ups and downs of 2019.

The reason for that trip down memory lane was not merely nostalgic, as I am planning next week to offer some highlights of those 365 days with you.

I was amazed as I looked back on those 12 months recognizing there was a lot that happened from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. I am also amazed at how much has happened in my family.

I have been a grandpa for almost seven months. (Here’s a 2020 prediction. You are going to be reading a lot more about that part of my life in the new year.)

While I won’t get into the details of the past year now, I will admit when I started looking I was not sure how much I would find.

Did anything really happen in 2019?

I think the thing that impressed me most is what you have been able to accomplish. In the Jan. 6 edition I announced Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz as the Gazette People of the Year, and since then I have received plenty of compliments for that decision from readers.

There was a time when I was making trips to Stoney Creek Farm last year on such a regular basis that I was convinced I could have gotten there with my eyes closed.

I will admit I don’t fully understand everything that is being done on their farm, but I know when people from around the world start showing up you know something big is happening there. You can be sure they will continue to be recognized for their cutting edge approach to farming. What I do understand makes sense.

While I think selecting Grant and Dawn was an easy decision, I will also say there was a pretty close second in a family which definitely deserves to be recognized for their efforts.

Weather played a major role in the local and the national story during 2019. That national story took on a local angle with a family from the Redwood area who saw a need and did their part to meet it.

When the flooding happened in Nebraska and people started talking about how devastating that was, especially for the ag industry, the Mike and JoDee Altmann family went beyond feeling sad for those who were negatively impacted and started a collection that they would later deliver.

Yes, it was truly a community working together that became a huge part of that story, but none of that would have happened if the Altmanns had not taken the initial step. The significance of what they initiated will be felt in Nebraska for years to come.

That is another of the great stories of 2019. (Here is another 2020 prediction for you. People like the Altmann and Breitkreutz families will step up in the coming year and will inspire us to join in the difference they’re making.)

I am certain others of you could come up with a list of worthy people who did amazing things in 2019.

To all of you who did even the smallest of things to make a difference in the life of someone, I offer my applause. What I know is that many who do those types of things are also the kind of people who would just as soon stand in the background letting others get the pats on the back.

One year from now things are going to be a lot different. There are going to be plenty of ups and downs, but there will also be many stories to tell about people just like you.