Jessica’s new baby brother Carter, born earlier this year.

By Jessica Harker

In April of 2020 I wrote a story about my step-father, a man named Jason Montgomery who lived in Ohio in my home town, and contracted COVID-19 early in the outbreak in the United States.

Jason, like so many other Americans, faced severe difficulty overcoming the respiratory virus, and was in a medically induced coma for a while, when my family was unsure which direction he would go.

Luckily, Jason was able to make a full recovery, and has since been doing well.

However, this column is not about reminiscing in this illness, or the things that 2020 took away from us, the time with family, the loved ones we lost, the money and the sanity and the jobs.

No; this column is about my new baby brother.

A little less than two months ago Jason and his fiancé had a new baby, a perfect little boy they named Carter.

Carter was born in 2020, but he is completely untouched by the trauma so many of us feel even thinking about the year that is almost behind us.

He is completely unaware that earlier this year, he almost lost his father to a new and deadly disease. He has no idea that while he sleeps, millions of Americans go without food due to job losses and lack of services available in the quantity that is so desperately needed.

He is the product of the most horrible year that anyone could have imagined, but he is not a victim of it.

Instead, Carter is a beacon of hope. Proof that this year, just like any other year we have faced as a country, is one that has both a beginning and an end.

Throughout 365 days there are only so many things that can happen, some can be horrible, and some can be grand, and we have no control over what those things are.

We do have control over what we do, and what we choose to focus our time on. Even if it may not change the state of the world, we can always make these choices for ourselves.

As we step into 2021, with both anticipation and uncertainty, I choose to think about my new baby brother. I choose to remember 2020 as the year that brought this joy into my life, and each day I plan to count it as a blessing.

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Jessica Harker is city reporter for the Marshall News Messenger. She can be reached via email at