updated 12/27/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/27/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
So do we. This year PEOPLE covered all the splash and dazzle of the celebrity world, from the wedding of Britney Spears to the birth of twins for Julia Roberts. At the same time, we were honored with awards for our coverage of drug and alcohol abuse, critical social issues such as AIDS and the riveting drama of the Laci Peterson trial. But what truly inspires us are the tales of everyday heroes who reflect the basic decency of the people who surround us. They include Sandra LaDay, the founder of People Supporting People, a Port Arthur, Texas, charity that provides the needy with hot meals, clothing and even schoolbooks (PEOPLE, Nov. 22); Matt Dalio, a 20-year-old Harvard junior who runs China Care, which finds homes for disabled orphans (Dec. 6); and Eric Alva and Brian Alaniz, two buddies who have helped each other heal after both lost legs in land-mine explosions in Iraq (Feb. 9). After each of these articles, readers responded with letters, offers of help and donations. It's the best part of this job—knowing that this magazine moves readers and inspires them.
With New Year's on the way, that's worth celebrating. Here's to a future filled with people who touch our hearts. They are truly everywhere.