The Coshocton County Beacon December 31, 2020 - Page 4

4 • The Beacon December 31 , 2020
Jones reflects on how community pulled together in 2020
By Jen Jones
TheCoshoctonBeaconToday . com

When I look back at all of the stories I ’ ve written this year , it ’ s hard to choose just a few favorites . There are so many I truly enjoyed doing and many that touched me . In a year when it seemed anything that could go wrong would , our community pulled together and showed what could happen when we work together for the greater good .

Before we get to the serious , “ feel-good ” stories I loved , for pure enjoyment ’ s sake and laughter , hands down , my favorite story of 2020 had to be watching donkey basketball in the Ridgewood Middle School gym . I really had no idea what to expect ( and honestly , thought “ donkey ” might
Liz Argyle is renovating the old Sue ’ s Hallmark building .
mean something other than an actual donkey ), and it was more than I could have imagined . I laughed until I cried watching the staff and students try to guide their donkeys . If this event happens again , do yourself a favor and go watch .
I also loved doing the series of Kids ’ Corners . Playing in the paint with Emma and Carter and sharing the experiments of so many other local families was fun . We have so many involved parents in our community , and I am truly thankful they shared their crafts and experiments with me .
When the pandemic hit , the community pulled together quickly to help those who needed help . Hopewell School organized a parade and food delivery . Other school districts arranged food
File and school-supply deliveries . The community also came together to honor the graduating seniors who weren ’ t able to have their senior year they had been working so hard for . Parades and adopt-asenior programs were just a few of the activities that happened .
Mercantile on Main and the Rose of Sharon Retreat worked together to get masks made for our local hospital and other healthcare workers to keep them safe when masks became scarce . This group of ladies organized a huge group of people who love to sew and made it safe to drop off completed masks to be delivered to those who needed them . Thousands of masks were made locally , and I am so grateful for those who took the time to help others .
Wiley Organics stopped their usual production and instead produced hand sanitizer they donated to local places in need such as the senior center .
I really enjoyed being at Alter- Care when they held a parade for their residents to be able to see their families . The smiles on both the residents and the families were amazing , and the delight of Bill , a resident , to see a fire truck in the parade made my day .
Planning ways for families to spend time together was fun for me and my children . We did the # spotcoshocton trail and explored local parks . The Fatherhood Initiative also created ways for dads to spend more time with their kids and maybe win a prize too . Learning more about the Fatherhood Initiative and hearing the passion William Johnson has for the project was a blessing .
I also was lucky enough to be able to explore the old Sue ’ s Hallmark building with Liz Argyle as she started work on the remodel . Old buildings are amazing , and I can ’ t wait to see what it looks like when she is finished .
Doing interviews with the Coshocton County Handicapped Society and with Freedom Hunters inspired me to want to help both groups .
My favorite stories are the ones that show people working hard to make our community better . When the world seems to be falling apart , look locally and you will find hundreds of people working together to make Coshocton a safe , caring community to live in .

Austin shares her favorites

The Fabulous ‘ 50s Drive-in
By Marianne Austin
TheCoshoctonBeaconToday . com

Ihave always had a love of writing , keeping a diary , journaling , but freelancing for a local newspaper is the most fun thing I have ever experienced . I like being out in the community meeting people , hearing their stories , covering events . This year in particular with everything that has happened , all the restrictions , it is amazing people still find innovative ways to celebrate , support each other and carry on .

Looking over this past year , one of my favorite stories was Mike Pepping the mushroom hunter . I grew up hunting mushrooms . It ’ s a tradition every spring for my family and friends like Pepping , so as soon as it starts getting a little green in the woods and the mayapples are up , it ’ s time to hunt . I appreciate Pepping for sharing some of his stories and tips and even his recipe for fried mushrooms to anyone who would like to try it .
Another favorite was Mark Hersman sharing information about the ancient village dig site in the county . I enjoyed learning about the earliest inhabitants of this area and the way they lived and seeing the actual remnants like pottery , jewelry , the firepits , bones of animals that were here — for example , elk and beaver — what they used for food , clothing and tools . Going back to our first civilizations is an awesome adventure .
The Fabulous ‘ 50s Drive-in at the senior center was a fun day for everyone who attended last summer : root beer floats and hot dogs , old rock ‘ n ’ roll , thanks to disc jockey Rick Williamson and R & D Promotions . Eightytwo cars and trucks attended — a lot of them vintage from the 1950s and ‘ 60s . The staff dressed up in ‘ 50s attire with their saddle shoes , bobby socks and ponytails . One of the attendees said they really missed the car shows being canceled this year , and the Fabulous ‘ 50s event was the closest thing to it . Even following the guidelines , everyone was having a great time .
Fifty years of volleyball , the Cathy Ames story , was heartwarming . It reminded me how women ’ s sports has evolved since I was in school in the ‘ 60s . Ames was my daughter ’ s physed teacher at Warsaw , which made the story more personal for me . Doing something you love your whole life and seeing the events that determined her journey was encouraging and a great story about her success .
Finally , the Veterans Day ceremony on the court square is always a reminder freedom isn ’ t free , and these men represent a living history of the sacrifices that were made to keep us free . Now more than ever , we need to honor these brave soldiers who were and are still willing to put their lives on the front lines to keep us free . I was proud to attend the ceremony honoring these men and women .
It was hard to pick out just a few stories because this is a very caring community : the city leaders , foster parents , small businesses , teachers , churches , young people stepping up , and just friends and neighbors supporting each other in every way this year . It ’ s been a tough year , but the human spirit — compassion , awareness , insight and understanding — has really come through .