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My Accomplishments in 2020 - Despite the Pandemic

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Jack is retired. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.



Here are my reflections of a most bizarre year, 2020, which will go certainly down in history as one of those most memorable years. Past years of equal status may be 1918, 1929, 1941, 1969, 1980, 2000, 2001. Here are some of my accomplishments this past year.

- Dec. 2020


In the 20th Century, we had numerous challenges as well as great successes. and 2020 was a year of many challenges.

The 1918 Spanish Flu global pandemic was one such challenge that took the lives of millions.

The Depression of 1929 was a financial failure of monumental proportions.

At the start of the Great War of WWII, in 1941, we were attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor.

In 1969, we landed the first man on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission.

In 1980, we elected the conservative President by the name of Ronald Reagan. The rest is history.

In 2000, we had the Dot.Com bubble, followed in 2001 by the 9/11 attack on the home land that killed 3,000 innocent civilians by Islamic terrorists.

The last century served as a history lesson for us going forward.

2020 - The Lost Year

This was the year dominated by the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic that ensued. For the first time in world history, we shut down our economic engine to fight against a tiny deadly virus that is invisible.

It was known as the "lost year" because everything seemed to stop. Kids stayed home, people postponed their weddings, travel was restricted, celebrations were curtailed. Life was put on hiatus.

The killing of George Floyd lead to a mass race riot across the U.S.

The presidential election was the most contentious in 50 years.

It was also a lost year when people lost their jobs, and businesses closed their doors for good.

My List of Accomplishments

The Details of My Accomplishments

This pandemic has put a stop to our travel plans this year. We were going to Oregon to attend a wedding, a convention in Las Vegas, and a trip overseas were all cancelled. Instead, we did a lot of local driving around our state, and surrounding states of New Jersey and Connecticut. We did a lot of hikes and walks in the park. We also ate take-out foods.

In addition, serving on the CCNY Alumni board, I pushed to have volunteers make cold calls to former members to rejoin our membership. This is the best way to support our Alumni organization, and in the process, support our school.

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This year's GALA event was held virtually. In addition. we held a silent auction to help raise additional funds. I donated an item to this auction to successfully reach our goals.

I joined the Fencers Club board this year and was assigned to the Real Estate Committee and the Fundraising Committee. These are important positions to help our club move forward especially during the pandemic with restricted access. We are currently limiting attendance to a maximum of 36 people per session. We are currently allowed two sessions per week, each session is 90 minutes.

During the shut down, I organized a small group of members to fence outdoors at our school campus. Medical experts agree that transmission of the virus is much reduced in an outdoor environment. A few members were climbing the walls during this period of shutdown and getting back to fencing was a welcomed relief.

We are working to renovate our newly purchased facility located on 33rd Street and 5th Avenue. This new facility will be 10% larger in space and will accommodate 22 strips. These strips are used for fencing practice. Two people can practice on each strip and this increased capacity would alleviate some congestion going forward.

I helped writing a submission for a grant from the Hyde and Watson Foundation. This has lead to a capital grant of $15,000 for our new renovation project.

On a personal front, I started a push to teach my extended family members how to play Mahjong. Given the current lockdown and restrictions, this is an excellent board game to help family stay together and have some fun while exercising their minds. So far, I have taught two of my kids how to play and also one of my niece's family. They are now addicted.

Acts of Kindness

A zoom birthday celebration for a teammate celebrating his 75th birthday.

A tribute to a fencer.

A house-warming gift for a survivor of COVID-19.

A fundraising for Veteran On Guard.

Donation to the Museum of Chinese in America after a devastating fire.

One of My Woodworking Project


Some of My Other Log Stool Creations



Despite the pandemic and the quarantine, I was able to accomplish quite a bit this past year. This year, 2020, will be remembered as the cancelled year. It is like all of us was put on pause. I tried very hard not to give in. In fact, I went out of my way to reach out to some of my friends and colleagues. Some I haven't been engaged for a long time.

The one example is one of my colleague from IBM. He was retired and living in Vermont with his daughter. He is suffering from an advanced form of Parkinson's disease. Even though I was not able to see him directly, I was able to reach out to his daughter. We spoke on the phone and chatted about his father's contributions that inspired me to write the article on IBM Technologies...

Another example was a fellow fencing teammate. He recently retired and both he and his wife contracted the COVID-19 virus and both survived. They decided to relocate to Puerto Rico. We held a Zoom house-warming party for them.

The good news we just heard is the successful testing of two vaccines, one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna. Both have shown 90% effectiveness. If these vaccines become widespread, we have a chance of ending this pandemic by the Spring of 2021. That would be welcomed, indeed.

In the meantime, stay safe and positive. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.


I thank God this Thanksgiving and every day for the gifts He has bestowed upon me--the gifts of wisdom and a positive attitude and purpose. My purpose is to enlighten the world around me and help make our community a better place tomorrow than it is today.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jack Lee


Liz Westwood from UK on November 18, 2020:

Congratulations on achieving so much in spite of the unprecedented circumstances.

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