There's a few stories I saw in the past month that stood out to me as important writing on things done in the face of horrible situations, with two pieces features about heroic work and two pieces short, first-person accounts of inspiration.
The stories on particularly important work were "An Ebola Doctor's Return from the Edge of Death" by Denise Grady for the New York Times on Dr. Ian Crozier and the two-part series "The Lost Bones" by Ben Montgomery for the Tampa Bay Times. The series by Montgomery followed up on writing he did previously on decades-ago atrocities at the Dozier School for Boys and these recent pieces about efforts led by University of South Florida anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle to find and identify remains on the grounds of the former reform school.
The other two pieces to note here were first one from 1986 with "He understood not only what we did but what we were supposed to do. : Reck of the Tribune" by Al Martinez for the L.A. Times and then "An Extra Angel on Top of the Tree" by Jessica Strawser for the New York Times in early December. Each story definitely trafficked in extremely sad topics and both also well worth reading.