From social unrest to a global pandemic, 2020 was not the year many expected.

Despite all of the challenges, some great things happened in Abilene this year and we want to be sure we highlight some of the stories that make us proud to live in the Key City.

#10 Dyess airman, 2 others save man from burning car

Two civilians and one Dyess airman are being hailed as heroes after they extricated a driver from a burning vehicle in September. This life-saving action was recognized by city officials.

#9 91-year-old Abilene man casts ballot for 1st time ever

A 91-year-old Abilene man got to vote for the first time. After becoming a U.S. citizen, Humberto De La Vega got to vote in the presidential election.

“I know I felt good, felt a warm feeling. I don’t know if everybody feels that way. Maybe they do it so often they don’t think about it, but for me it was a good experience,” said De La Vega.

#8 TayCo Expo Center debuts new facilities

Major capital improvements continued at the Taylor County Expo Center, specifically with the new Taylor Telecom Arena and the newly named First Financial Pavilion; The Taylor Telecom Arena was completed in the Spring as Phase 2 of the Expo Center’s improvements.

#7 Abilene Youth Sports Authority opens doors on new facility

Years in the making, the AYSA Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center opened its doors in February. The new event center promises to be a regional hub for youth sports for decades to come.

#6 Abilene sees diversity, cultural representation in leadership positions

Abilene is leading the way with diversity and cultural representation in major leadership positions. Abilene now has its first Black Mayor, first Black Police Chief and first Hispanic Fire Chief.

#5 Abilene honors healthcare workers, first responders, frontline workers, educators

The generous spirit of the Abilene and Big Country community stepped up in a big way in 2020 as residents honored those working on the front lines during the pandemic. From large displays like the weekly change of the Paramount marquee, to generous gifts, those working in healthcare, education, public safety and more were shown deep appreciation for their steadfast work during the pandemic.

#4 Abilene Gives has a record year

The community rallied together and donated more than $1.3 million during the Community Foundation of Abilene’s annual day-long event “Abilene Gives.” The 2020 event was the most successful one yet, despite the event going completely virtual. Abilene Gives 2021 is set for May 4.

#3 Abilene achieves functional zero homelessness

Abilene has become the fourth community in the country to be certified for reaching functional zero for chronic homelessness, a gold standard for serving the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in a community.

#2 COVID-19 vaccinations arrive in Abilene

It’s the beginning of the end, according to health officials monitoring the biggest pandemic of our lifetime. COVID-19 vaccinations arrived in Abilene in December and are still being administered to healthcare workers and front line workers

#1 Jim Ned wins state championship

In the year that was 2020, the Jim Ned Indians gave us all something to smile about. From a grassroots petition started by players to even play ball, to taking their passion all the day to the State Championship, the entire Big Country community celebrated the Indians thrilling overtime win.

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