To say 2020 brought Tulsa unprecedented challenges is, in many ways, an understatement. As of Dec. 21, 350 Tulsa County residents had died from complications of COVID-19. Difficult decisions became the norm. News alerts communicated near-constant warnings about the global pandemic that made its first appearance in Tulsa in March.
The pandemic has tested each of us, but Tulsans also endured other difficulties in 2020. Two Tulsa police officers were shot; one died — the first officer killed in the line of duty in 24 years. Protests in response to the deaths of Black men and women brought citizens together to support criminal justice reform. Tulsa, and the state, continues to face a teacher shortage, and countless Tulsans experienced hardship with food and shelter insecurity.
Yet Tulsans stepped up in 2020 to address these issues and help their neighbors. And we continue to do so. For these reasons, and countless others, we recognize all Tulsans with our greatest honor: YOU are Tulsan of the Year.
2020 in three words
Colossal, unprecedented, nightmare.
Wendell Franklin, Tulsa Police Department chief
Dissolution of normalcy.
Whitney Burk, A.P.R.N., Tulsa Health Department
Challenging, perseverance, loss.
Christina Howard, R.N., Ascension St. John
Bravery, teamwork, gratitude.
Doug Williams, senior vice president and administrator of Saint Francis Hospital
Long, challenging, heavy.
Michelle Lambkins, kindergarten teacher, Broken Arrow Public Schools
Painful, mayhem, resilience.
Randy Williams, high school English teacher, Jenks Public Schools
Stress, anxiety, uncertainty.
Tracy Smith, fourth-grade Spanish immersion teacher, Tulsa Public Schools
Terrifying, debilitating, helpless.
Melissa Boudiette, first-through third-grade teacher, Tulsa Public Schools
Distant, busy, evolving.
Leah Mueller, mother of two
Beautiful sh** sandwich.
Shane Bevel, father of two
Unexpected, challenging, frustrating.
Tracy Peralta, mother of three
Year of reflection.
Talitha Jacobs, mother of three
Keep on praying.
Vonceil Bell, Tulsa Transit