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Neighbors have noticed the kindness of others

Columnist Jen Koski asked readers for nominations for her Chester Awards, and readers delivered.

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It's time to share a little more love.

Last month, I recognized several Rochesterites in my annual Chester Awards — a column that honors people who've shown a kindness, a generosity of spirit or just a plain old above-and-beyondness that may not make the evening news, but warms my heart.

At the end of that column, I asked readers to send their own Chester Award nominations my way for another of my annual traditions: The reader-nominated Chester Awards.

As usual, you didn't disappoint. Here are the people you honored — and the stories you shared:

"I would nominate all of my superhero co-workers at the hospital: nurses, environmental services, HUCs, respiratory therapists. Our floor has been the COVID unit since day one, and these are the people going in the rooms. Every time. Every day. And not by Zoom or videoconferences, which many specialties were able to do. They're holding hands, watching patients take their last breaths — but not their last breaths alone, because these staff stood up when COVID hit and continue to stand up day after day after day. They don't get extra pay and they didn’t volunteer; they just showed up to do their job and were told they were now the COVID unit. They saw so many changes — sometimes literally by the hour, and certainly by the day. These people are my heroes." — Jenny R.

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"I nominate Mary Hanson and her group! Mary has not only been leading the '125 Castle Quilters' group at 125 LIVE — a group that donates items to 17 different organizations in Rochester — but never says no to anyone who asks for help. Most recently, she was behind the food drive for the Gage East Apartments. She and her group truly deserve recognition for spending countless hours volunteering their time to better Rochester." — Sylwia O.

"I have a couple people I'd nominate, even from just the last couple of weeks. Rochester Public Library reference librarian Katherine Stecher was quick to answer my request — and connected me with the right people — when my team at work needed specific information. And Maier Tree & Lawn took thoughtful care of our yard … and we didn't even hire them. They were taking down a neighbor's tree, but came to our door to let us know that if they did any damage to our yard in the process, they'd be happy to return to fix our lawn. And then, despite dropping the tree in our yard, they cleaned up so thoroughly that had we not watched them do it, we wouldn't have even known they were here." — Jay K.

"I just want to recognize my neighbors. For the last year, the number of neighbors out walking their dogs every day or even just walking by themselves has been more than I've ever seen … and I've been in my neighborhood for almost 20 years. It kind of feels like 'olden times' — where we are all greeting each other and sharing a few friendly words as we pass by. It may not seem significant, but these friendly faces and friendly words have been really meaningful for me during a year of social distancing. I hope it continues even after COVID is over." — Lisa M.

Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to jkoski@rochestermagazine.com .

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