2020 is a year no one will ever forget. Many of us are just trying to be hopeful and are looking forward towards brighter days ahead in 2021. Who knows what the future will bring, but we hope this year will be leaps and bounds above what 2020 gave us.
In looking back on this year, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic obviously stole a majority of headlines. But, we want to shed a light on all the good that happened in Plano this year.
A rallying Plano community is above all what made 2020 beautiful. You picked-up curbside meals to support local restaurants when they felt the bottom caving in. You ordered by phone or online from local shops to help keep them afloat. Restaurants, though struggling themselves, provided food to frontline workers at local hospitals, as well as to our Plano police and fire departments. You came together to support racial justice. You helped Plano be the best it could be during trying times.
We are #PlanoProud.
Here are 10 of our favorite and uplifting stories of 2020.
Favorite stories of 2020
Plano flags of honor to pay tribute to veterans
The Plano East Rotary Club’s Plano Flags of Honor is a display of over 1,000 American flags expressing gratitude to our veterans and first responders. Held November 11th-15th, the display was located at the southwest corner of Preston Rd. and Spring Creek Pkwy. and virtual programs were streamed daily throughout the week. Plano’s “Excellence” hot air balloon even made a stunning visit.
Owners of Plano’s Bella Italia Give Away Free Meals for Thanksgiving
Bella Italia’s owner, Ari Isufaj, a refugee from Kosovo, remembers his first Thanksgiving receiving a turkey from a family he barely knew. Because of this, him and his wife, Blinera, wanted to offer that same gesture of kindness to their fellow Plano residents. Ari and Blinera provided 200 free meals consisting of lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, and cannelloni in individually packaged take-out containers to those in need.
“We have been very blessed by our customers during COVID,” shared Ari. “Our customers came through and supported us. A woman called two months ago and said she wanted to come and bless our restaurant. She brought a group and their check was $300, and they left a $1,800 tip.”
An elderly couple, though afraid to dine in and don’t prefer to order take-out, sends a $50 check each month just because they love Bella Italia.
Read the full story at PlanoMagazine.com.
U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flew Over Plano
On May 6 the U.S. Navy Blue Angels squadron flew over north Texas in honor of healthcare professionals, first responders and essential workers.
Two Thousand People Gather at Plano’s Hungry for Change ralley
On June 7 at Plano Municipal Center, founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry Cheryl Jackson and several speakers brought together two thousand attendees in a collective effort to raise awareness around systemic racism, pray together and work toward positive change.
Cheryl Jackson opened up the rally by sharing a sentiment that has reverberated throughout the nation: “I don’t usually protest, but this time I had to.” She told the story of how quickly the idea for this event developed, springing from her jumping onto social media last weekend to share her fears and frustration about how her black family members may be treated based solely on the color of their skin.
Plano Police Chief Ed Drain spoke about the way a police force should be serving and protecting its city’s residents. “The police should treat everybody with dignity and respect, and with fairness,” he said.
Read the full story and see photos from the event at PlanoMagazine.com.
Plano Magazine organized neighborhood Drive-by concerts
To bring fun and live entertainment back to our community, Plano Magazine hosted Drive-By Concerts in Plano. Blue Circle Media outfitted the bed of a pick-up truck with a small stage and speakers. Local musicians performed while being driven through Plano neighborhoods and citizens sat in their lawns socially distanced and enjoyed this fantastic outdoor entertainment.
Read the full article at PlanoMagazine.com.
City of Plano comes together to celebrate stanley cup winner blake coleman
Plano’s own Blake Coleman made history in late September when he became the first Plano resident and Texas-born hockey player to become a Stanley Cup winner. He scored a game-winning goal in Game Six of the National Hockey League finals to seal the deal for the Tampa Bay Lightning, defeating his hometown team, the Dallas Stars.
In honor of his athletic achievement, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere christened Nov. 2 as Blake Coleman Day in Plano and honored Coleman with a “puck to the city” in a virtual ceremony Monday afternoon.
Read the full story at LocalProfile.com.
Whiskey cake first to launch quarantine kits TO PLANO community
On March 18, with the onset of “Shelter in Place” orders, Whiskey Cake Plano launched what we believe was the beginning of the Quarantine Kit phenomenon. With empty shelves at grocery stores and the order to close in-restaurant dining, Whiskey Cake took the initiative to help the community and keep their sales up by launching Quarantine Kits available for curbside pick-up and even delivery.
On their social media channels, they promoted a Quarantine Kit which included steaks, burger patties, marinated chicken, eggs, gallon of milk, a pound of butter, oranges, and rolls of toilet paper for just $48. With 2.2k Facebook shares, 1.2k comments, and 2.7k likes, it’s clear this was a huge hit with our community. Whiskey Cake launched daily specials for several months including curbside food kits and cocktails to-go.
Plano named Best City for Staycations by Wallethub
In May WalletHub named Plano, Texas the Best City for Staycations in the U.S. To determine the best cities for a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation, WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 15 key metrics. Their data set ranges from parks per capita to the average home square footage and the idealness of summer weather.
Find the full ranking and their methodology at WalletHub.com.
In-fretta gives away free meals during covid-19 pandemic
Even prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Plano’s In-Fretta restaurant has always given free food to anyone who says they need it, no questions asked. Back in the spring, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, In-Fretta gave away food to organizations in need, feeding more than 2,000 one day.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up,” In-Fretta said in a Facebook post.
Find the fill story at PlanoMagazine.com.
A Plano Hero honored with key to the city
In February the Plano City Council honored a local Texas hero, Dr. Myrtle Hightower, with the key to the city and proclaiming February 10 in her honor.
Dr. Hightower has received many notable awards and accolades throughout her career, including the Texas Hero for Children Award; she is also credited with beginning a black history program that would grow into what has become the annual community-wide MLK Day celebration in Plano. Hightower received the Local Legacy Award at the Dynamic Women of Color Summit. Also in her list of accolades, Hightower was awarded the Drum Major for Justice Award, which was established by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to recognize individuals who have dedicated their lives to community service.
“So as I cast down my bucket here in Plano, I feel that I have made some real progress,” Dr. Hightower said in May. “I feel that I have helped people by showing them a path to love and acceptance.”
Read the full story at LocalProfile.com.