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Silver Linings: Finding Unexpected Joys Amid the Pandemic

March 5, 2021 /   Kayaking on the Milwaukee River

Through the ups-and-downs of the past year (and let’s be real, this year too), we need to highlight the little things along the way that bring us happiness. Here we share stories from three fellow Milwaukeeans (submitted here) on challenges overcome, new perspectives and unexpected joys. 

Fourth Puppy and a New Home

Mary Dunne spent the summer changing what her idea of fun is. She found that there are so many ways to have a good time in Milwaukee while keeping safety a top priority. In addition to kayaking and camping the summer away with her dogs, her boyfriend began home brewing so they could enjoy the bar scene from their back patio. To top it off, she moved to the East Side and added a fourth puppy to the family! Mary’s confident that “if 2020 had gone as planned, we wouldn’t be living in this beautiful house and we wouldn’t have our new pup.” 

Like many of us working from home, Mary learned to navigate the distinction between home life, office life and social life. Her best advice to separating work from home? “Having a designated work space is a total game changer.”

A Wonderful Addition to the Family

After losing her beloved schnoodle, Grendal, at the beginning of 2020, Debby Koenig started to look for a rescue to give a loving home to. She found the most adorable puppy... all the way down in Texas. Luckily, a kind volunteer brought the pup up to Michigan so Debby could pick up the newest member of her family. Flash forward to a year later and the whole family is delighted that “little goofball” Brody brightened their lives throughout the pandemic. And while Debby misses going out to the renaissance fair, she is dedicated to being careful to keep her loved ones and neighbors safe. Plus, Brody has made sure life is less than boring while raising him.

A Healthcare Hero’s New Perspective

Through this past year, healthcare workers have made a significant difference in the wellbeing of our communities. Where would we be without their knowledge, compassion and dedication to our health? Rightfully so, the overall celebration and admiration for healthcare workers has been at the forefront of the COVID pandemic. Local healthcare worker Emily Kieffer found a new appreciation for her job because she realized the great impact her work has on others and the general public. Emily found during hard times “we shouldn’t take anything for granted, especially time spent with friends and family.” Take Emily’s advice - reach out to your loved ones when you can. 


Milwaukee Downtown welcomes you to share your own silver lining stories with us so we can learn from one another and continue to move forward together. 

Share your story here. Four stories submitted by Friday, March 15 will be randomly selected to win $250 each in downtown gift cards. No story is too small! We want to hear your wins, discoveries, bright sides and the moments that helped MKE your year. 

About the Author: Terese Radke is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Special Events & Marketing Intern with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, advancing downtown's strategic priorities through marketing, events and social media.

Posted in:  Silver Linings