It’s become the lede to every article, the opening sentence of every social media post, the introduction to every webinar or email or newsletter—”2020 has been a difficult year.”

The phrase is shorthand for so many hardships. Not only the sheer brutality of the COVID-19 pandemic but the isolation of lockdown, the collective frustration of systemic racial inequity, the continuing uncertainty as each day presents new, exhausting challenges.

2020 marked the 30th anniversary of QLI’s service as a rehabilitation and care facility for brain and spinal cord injury survivors nationwide. In January, our teams were deep in planning for a celebration of our organization’s mission, some way to commemorate three decades of clinical and cultural excellence. Less than two months later, QLI was in complete lockdown, safeguarding all our clients from community exposure within the gates of our campus.

Rather than cut QLI off from the community resources that provide our clinical programs real-world application, the COVID-19 lockdown served to shine a spotlight on the most valuable components of our organization. Our team’s collaboration, our team’s creativity, our team’s passion and empathy.

In short—our team.

Over our 30-year history, very few challenges have tested the resilience of our values the way this year’s culmination of hardships did. And yet, our team thrived. With QLI cordoned off from the Greater Omaha area, we proved that QLI isn’t simply a facility made up of expert clinicians and dedicated direct-care workers and a host of critical supplementary staff fueling our veritable engine. Instead, we are something greater. A true community unto itself, whose more-than 400 team members across two discrete continuums of care remained unified in the pursuit of a greater cause.

Where, elsewhere, the struggle dominated all conversation, QLI put solutions at the forefront. QLI’s strict pandemic procedures prevented COVID-19 transmission within our campus, even as case numbers skyrocketed throughout the country and, indeed, across our own city. By putting clear and present emphasis on social distancing, hand hygiene, and diligent mask-wearing practices, we navigated the complexities of lockdown and continued delivering the life-changing care our mission statement champions first and foremost.

Indeed, 2020 has been a difficult year. So difficult, in fact, that the transition into the new year, and the hopeful beginnings of a post-pandemic world, still loom hazily on the horizon.

But in that difficulty, we found hope. We found it, created it, shared it.

And we did so together.

Thank you for your continued support, both in the shadow of this year’s uncertain circumstances and as we move ever forward. Forward, forging a new path.