The Ashe Post & Times is regularly honored annually with several awards from the North Carolina Press Association, and this year is no different. The AP&T received five 2020 awards in Division A in the contest that is judged by editorial and marketing colleagues in another state.

What is different this year is how we got there.

As always, the awards themselves are not the most significant part of the process. The only way we arrive on the podium — virtually, this year — is through a team effort on the part of our full staff and a unique partnership with you, our readers and advertisers.

And that effort is what matters most.

Recognition comes from the validation that what we are doing in serving our community is valuable to you, and in 2020 that validation came through continuous updates, stories, notifications and advertisements in print and online during a year unlike many of us had ever seen.

It wasn’t easy for any of us, and with the pandemic still raging, the challenges continue. But through the efforts of our healthcare officials, first responders, front-line staff, essential workers and business partners striving to make life a little more bearable every day, we have arrived at a place and time where hope is yet in front of us.

This is the point of two of our front-page stories today — a one-year retrospective about the pandemic, and a story outlining the NCPA recognition — because they are tied together, as are we all as we universally move into 2021 with both deep sorrows for those we have lost and expectations that many more will be saved.

It’s not been an easy year, and we have yet to learn what this year will bring, but no doubt we will continue to face the future together as community, as neighbors and as family.

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Tom Mayer is the executive editor of Mountain Times Publications, a group of five news newspapers, six websites and one monthly periodical in the High Country of North Carolina.

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