We have dedicated this edition of the Havelock News to our look back at the year

We have dedicated this edition of the Havelock News to our look back at the year that was 2016. Of course, your particular outlook on the year most likely stems from events that happened to you individually or around you.

For those with family members that were part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, getting them home just before Christmas likely means you’re ending 2016 on a very optimistic note.

And yes, there was a lot of sadness in the world and in Havelock during the past year, so much that it may be hard sometimes to see the good things that happened. With that in mind, we’re going to mention a few here in hopes that it brightens your outlook on 2017.

We celebrated Debbie Hurst of W.J. Gurganus Elementary School in Havelock who was named the Principal of the Year in Craven County.

Gray’s Towing received national recognition for the paint schemes on its tow trucks that are used to raise awareness and money for a variety of causes.

The Slocum Creek Recreational Area opened in Havelock — complete with picnic tables and a kayak launch — and a new all-inclusive playground took shape at Walter B. Jones Park, thanks to a $450,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources.

Lidl began construction of a new grocery store across from Walmart in Havelock. Next year, the store should open, giving residents an additional option on where to purchase groceries.

The Neuromuscular Disease Support Organization formed in Havelock, raising about $15,000 toward providing support for those with such diseases as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Freddie J. Dawkins, 81, was recognized for 63 years of federal service in the armed forces, as a reservist, and as a worker at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point.

Speaking of Cherry Point, the base celebrated its 75th anniversary — along with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing — by putting on quite an air show in 2016. Featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels, the three-day event drew about 200,000 people and kept us entertained with aerobatics, military demonstrations and the opportunity to talk with some of those who serve so we can be free.

National Night Out brought residents, public officials, police officers and firefighters together for a community celebration.

A 12-year-old girl from Havelock, Delaney Meadows, was nominated for two Carolina Music Awards.

Cherry Point’s Single Marine Program received national recognition for having the most volunteer hours of any military installation.

Havelock police Sgt. James Fahnestock received a Lifesaving Medal for helping save the life of Richard “Dick” Vincent, who was having a heart attack.

And how can anyone forget the story of Hemi the cat? Lost for four years by a former Cherry Point family, the cat was found and turned over to animal services, where it was discovered that Hemi had a microchip implanted that helped track down his owners in North Dakota. Thanks to a fundraising effort and a family friend, the cat was flown out to North Dakota to be reunited with the family.

We know that it’s not always easy to be optimistic. To quote a song from Drake White — who by the way just happened to play at the WRNS Guitar Pull at Cherry Point in 2016 — we “ain’t doin’ half bad for a half full glass.”

We know 2017 is going to bring its share of heartache and misery. It won’t be any different from 2016 as far as that goes.

Still, remember to look for those golden nuggets that brighten your days. They’re out there. Sometimes you can find them in these pages. Sometimes you can find them on a drive to the grocery store, on a walk through your neighborhood, on a sunny beach, or with your family and friends.

Life does hurt sometimes, but it also offers us the opportunity for great joy and laughter. Cherish those precious times, and here’s hoping you have a lot of them in 2017.