Mayor Ginger Nelson posted on social media that today marks the one year anniversary of the first positive Covid-19 case in our area. Immediately, I started to reflect on one of the toughest years many of us has lived through.

I'll never forget St. Patrick's Day 2020. We were watching the Dropkick Murphy's concert in the living room. I had just finished pouring a beer, the kids were singing along and dancing to the music, and my wife looked up from her phone. It was bad news out of Lubbock.

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We both knew that it wouldn't be long before we saw the same kind of news in Amarillo.

Everything after that seems like a blur. My wife and I were expecting the birth of our son in June. She was working at that time. Soon, we would be having to adjust to being a one income household with a newborn.

All of the plans many of us had for 2020 went up in smoke.

As case numbers continued to rise in Amarillo, my family and I basically became hermits. A lot of people did. I have health issues that put me in the "at risk" group.

Businesses went to curbside pickup and delivery only. That's if they were lucky enough to stay open. Bigger stores went to limited capacity.

My wife adjusted to virtual learning with our oldest two kids. Toilet paper became hard to find. I continued working every day at the office, but within a bubble of self isolation and distancing.

Our son was born in June, smack dab in the middle of this chaotic pandemic. Luckily I was able to be there for it and I'm still singing Northwest's praises to this day for how well they treated us. Even if only for a few days, we were able to forget about the pandemic and just fall in love with our new son.

I stopped counting at one point how many people we knew personally who contracted the virus, and how many people we knew who died.

I just know that I missed a lot of funerals last year.

Now it's a year later, and some things are better. The city just downgraded our status to level yellow. Masks are still encouraged, as is social distancing and good hygiene, but no mandates are in place.

The surviving businesses are able to open up all the way and make their own choices regarding safety measures. Events are being scheduled again.

We went from making national news for being a hot spot for cases, to being a case study on how to effectively roll out the vaccine.

I don't feel much like celebrating though. Somber reflection seems somewhat more appropriate.

The best of us--and the worst--was on full display over the last year. Hopefully we can learn from what we got wrong and build on what we got right.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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