There are 140 silver ornaments in my closet. For 12 months, they have waited for Christmas. And it appears they will have to wait another 12.

When I raced to the store to purchase them during the after-Christmas sale last year, visions of an evergreen shouldering all those glorious ornaments filled my head. Months later, I am still waiting to move to my new home and planning to spend the holiday with my boyfriend and his family. There will be no evergreen in my place this year.

But who am I to complain when so many others will miss more than a tree. Take Annette Jansen for example. Her husband, Grant Jansen, was a St. Charles police officer who died three months ago in a one car crash as he drove home from night duty. Annette recalled the conversation, explaining that her husband had been in an accident. She says she asked, "Where is he"? And in response, she heard, "He didn't make it". Now, she is raising their two children by herself...and is pregnant with their third.

Rico Newsome's 21 month-old daughter will spend every Christmas without the father who adored her. Rico Newsome and two others died last week in a car crash on the McKinley bridge. Some day his daughter will learn the tragic details.

Isn't it enough to lose your job during an economic downturn of "historic proportions"? But how about now having to decide if you should take the lump sum payment offered by the company where you work or forgo the package, taking your chances the plant will reopen and rehire you? That's the decision many workers faced at the Chrysler plant in Fenton.

Every day we tell the stories of people who survive great tragedies, challenges, and setbacks. And in many cases, somehow...some way...they make it through. Courage is the common denominator: the soldier who lost a leg but is learning to walk again; the family living in their car to survive an economic downturn; the single mom working three jobs to provide.

For 22 years, from the other side of camera, I have had the privilege of witnessing the backbone of character: courage. My favorite definition: the ability to forge ahead...even in the face of fear. It is evergreen...found year-round...and when located... impressive in its simplicity.

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