Odds are, if you’re reading this newspaper, you’re already a fan of Galveston County. The mix of breathtaking nature, diverse cultures, unique people, powerful industry and downright good-hearted community is second to none. I’d challenge you to find a comparable small stretch of land (only 873 total square miles) anywhere in the world.
Yes, Galveston County is one very special place to live, work and raise a family.
As is the long-standing tradition here at The Daily News, as publisher I’d like to share a few favorite talking points about our community, updated this year to account for what a year it has been.
• Leonard Woolsey
1. Galveston County Health District and the dedicated work of its leader, Dr. Philip Keiser in battling COVID-19.
2. Front-line health care workers at hospitals and clinics across the county.
3. Retail workers of all types who ran cash registers, stocked shelves and too often had to deal with people who didn’t know how to behave.
4. Police, fire and emergency medical personnel.
5. Rank-and-file residents of Galveston County who donated food and money at record levels to help people who lost their jobs.
6. County leaders who kept a good grip on reality while some of the world was losing its mind.
7. Volunteer mayors and city council members across Galveston County who were forced to make most of the hard decisions about managing a global pandemic.
8. Educators, administrators and elected officials who had to do the same for schools, colleges and universities.
9. Animal shelter administrators, workers and volunteers.
10. Daily News subscribers and advertisers who stuck with us through hard changes necessary for business survival.
11. Restaurant operators who fed the needy despite their own businesses being shut down by COVID-19 restrictions.
12. People ranging from school children to grandmothers who took up needle and thread to make face coverings.
13. People who wore those face coverings even when doing so felt really odd.
14. Resilient small-business owners who retooled or just dug in and refused to quit and kept employees despite deep difficulties.
15. Delivery drivers of all sorts.
16. Spectacular sunsets that there are not enough crayons to accurately describe.
17. The seawall — a miracle of engineering and community foresight.
18. You can get by with only a pair of flip-flops and a pair of cowboy boots.
19. How so many religions and interests live peacefully and respectfully alongside each other.
20. The University of Texas Medical Branch and the resources it brings to Galveston County.
21. The Ronald McDonald House and those who serve people in need.
22. The Shriners Hospitals for Children- Galveston and the work professionals there do for burn victims.
23. People-watching on the seawall … and you thought airports were fun.
24. Beaches, beaches and more beaches.
25. The peaceful, wide-open lands of the Santa Fe region — reminding us we are still in the great state of Texas.
26. The pride of knowing the important role Texas City’s industry plays in our national economy.
27. The important role our residents play in supporting NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
28. The chambers of commerce across Galveston County — each working to support and grow local businesses.
29. Barbecue choices galore — all different, all wonderful.
30. The dolphin escorts while riding the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry across the channel.
31. MOD Coffee House in Galveston — a coffee shop that doubles as a heartbeat for the community.
32. The majestic Hotel Galvez — proudly standing as a symbol of rebirth from The Great Storm of 1900.
33. Hometown Heroes Park in League City — what a wonderful community facility.
34. The radiant silhouette of Moody Gardens’ pyramids at sunset.
35. Dogs chasing gulls into the water — yet never catching one.
36. The picturesque and romantic bayous of Dickinson.
37. The quietly majestic oak trees of League City.
38. The Grand 1894 Opera House — it’s a treasure under any conditions.
39. Mardi Gras — soon may it return.
40. The abundance of fresh fish in local restaurants — most of them caught the same day.
41. The Bryan Museum — get your cowboy on with the greatest collection you’ll ever see.
42. A handshake is still a valid form of currency.
43. The feeling you are leaving the world behind as you cross the Galveston causeway onto the island.
44. The fact it can be raining in Texas City and clear skies on Galveston Island at the same time — and vice versa.
45. Gina Spagnola and the Galveston Chamber of Commerce — a vocal proponent for local businesses and young entrepreneurs.
46. Jenny Senter with the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce — we wish her an excellent retirement.
47. The annual migration of grackles and the eerie reminder of Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “The Birds.”
48. The Texas history archive of Rosenberg Library — the largest in the state.
49. The friendly employee who sits in the small tollbooth at the foot of the San Luis Pass Bridge.
50. That Galveston County has a locally owned and operated newspaper.
51. Blue Santa programs across Galveston County — police and law enforcement personnel delivering gifts to children in need for the holidays.
52. How people proudly (and rightly so) claim The Daily News as their newspaper.
53. Peter Davis and the remarkable job the Galveston Island Beach Patrol does for our community.
54. Texas’ beaches belonging to the people and not corporations.
55. The number of public parks per capita in Texas City — simply astounding.
56. The Texas City Dike — nearly 5 miles of fun, fishing and storm protection.
57. How everyone in Galveston County keeps sand between his or her toes (figuratively).
58. The trolleys running along the seawall — a great way to see the island.
59. Learning I can be practically anywhere I need to go in only a few minutes.
60. Brown pelicans’ hypnotizing practice of kamikaze dives into the water.
61. How people are truly engaged in the politics of their community — they keep elected officials accountable.
62. Driving Bolivar Peninsula in a borrowed convertible.
63. That anyone in Galveston County can put his or her toes in a body of water at a moment’s notice.
64. The millions of visitors a year and the opportunities they bring to our local businesses to grow and flourish.
65. Families making memories year-round along Gulf beaches.
66. People taking selfies against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico.
67. The Lighthouse Charity Team — cooking for others in need with love.
68. The unmistakable taste of saltwater on your lips.
69. Viewing a Mardi Gras parade from beautiful balconies along The Strand.
70. Genuine pirate history — and the stories of buried treasure on the island.
71. The beautifully restored streets of downtown Texas City.
72. Watching ships line up on the horizon to enter the ship channel.
73. Climbing through a genuine submarine at Seawolf Park.
74. The lights of the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier through a winter fog.
75. Dozens of surfers dotting the water in search of “one more wave.”
76. Paddle-boarding — from waves to quiet back waters.
77. The unmistakable sound of the mosquito truck heading down your street.
78. The local chapter of the Boys and Girls club and the many volunteers helping shape young and impressionable lives.
79. People whose families have subscribed to The Daily News for generations.
80. That good-natured debate between BOI and IBC residents on Galveston Island.
81. The faces of young children feeding a flock of hovering gulls.
82. The faces of adults telling children not to feed the gulls.
83. Driving into League City and discovering yet another new business opening.
84. Being able to hop a cruise ship at the last minute for a quick getaway.
85. The Galveston County Fair & Rodeo — let’s hope it happens in 2021.
86. Waking up to discover an unexpected humidity-free day.
87. Learning there are different varieties of palm trees.
88. Afternoon rainbows over the Gulf after a rainstorm.
89. Experiencing 99.9 percent humidity and living to tell about it.
90. Streets named with a letter followed by a numerical 1/2.
91. How neat and clean the streets are in downtown Texas City.
92. Knowing there is a place of worship for practically everyone in Galveston County.
93. The Salvation Army, United Way and Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations. This year more than ever.
94. Driving on the beaches — that, my friends, is rare these days.
95. The good places to eat generally located within a mile of where you’re standing at the moment.
96. How a northeaster can quickly remind us why we live here during winter.
97. Live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss hanging over a local bayou.
98. The bird observation decks tucked throughout Galveston Island State Park.
99. The annual winter migration of out-of-state RVs into Galveston County.
100. The mountain bike trails at Jack Brooks Park — rated among the best in all of Houston.
101. Knowing Galveston County’s best days are still to come.