As you read this article we will have just had our Christmas Day gatherings and meals and are getting ready to go out and do some after-Christmas shopping.

It has been the most unusual year we have ever experienced and we bring heartache and personal memories to the forefront. No matter your role in life there is no one that has not been challenged in the year 2020.

My prayer and sincere hope is that the New Year will bring some form of confidence that we are getting a little closer to normal in the first quarter of 2021. The vaccine was created and distributed in record time and that speaks well for the can-do attitude of the medical field and corporate America.

I have personally learned a bunch about our city leadership and about our community as a whole. We live in a community that is blessed with caring, giving, concerned people who want to do the right thing, and we live with people who are distrustful of the whole health issue. Somewhere in there are the true caregivers of this world and they are greatly appreciated.

The medical field has given many, many hours of professional service to this community and has certainly bought in to the commitment of surrounding this virus with hours of treatment and care. We are blessed to have them in our city.

We have first responders ready and waiting to go into harm’s way to help anyone who calls or requests attention. They have made more than 3,000 runs to homes and businesses without any hesitation.

Bless you all, Lufkin Police and Fire Department.

We should also thank the teachers, administrators, bus drivers, custodial employees and child care services that have done outstanding duty making daily efforts to take care of the future leaders of our city each and every day. We are blessed with excellent leadership in these areas of education, and we salute each of you for your care and concern.

Everyone in the retail field has been inconvenienced and still has done their best to abide by the rules and still serve the public. No one has been exempt from these inconveniences, and my prayer is for them all to survive and recover as the New Year progresses.

On a personal note, I thank each of you who have reached out with kind notes and verbal encouragement this year to all city of Lufkin employees and council members.

It can get a little lonely trying to satisfy every one of you and that never works out as intended. We have heard from both sides on the issues, and we tried our best to abide by state and national guidelines and still protect your personal rights. Your health and safety were always in the forefront of our decisions.

God bless my dear friend Annie Shelton as she said goodbye to her precious husband, Prophet, who passed away from the virus. She is an angel and knows he is not suffering and she certainly knows where he now resides.

Also, congratulations to Jim and Patty Stephens, who celebrated 70 years of marriage last Tuesday. Jim and Patty lived in Lufkin all those 70 years until they retired in Longview to be closer to family. They are special ambassadors of our city.

Please start the New Year off with an act of kindness and do something for someone without being asked to do so.

God bless and please continue to care for and support this great city.

Bob Brown is the mayor for the city of Lufkin. His email address is mayorbobbrown@cityoflufkin.com.