Billings Gazette reporter Juliana Sukut shares her five most memorable stories of 2019.

It was difficult to choose just five. In the end I decided on the people—not the stories—that left an impression on me.

• I met a man whose dad died in a home explosion. After publication he said telling his story to a reporter helped him find some closure.

• I got the sheer joy of meeting one of the most entertaining group of people in Billings. Reporting on Billings' drag queens is the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Period. If you haven’t caught one of the drag shows—please go, they’re worth it.

• I visited Gardiner to learn about a housing shortage there. It’s an issue most of the state faces, but the town acts as a microcosm for Montana. The passionate people of Gardiner made this story fun to report and write. 

• On Labor Day I followed a family who was still searching for a missing loved one. They welcomed me with kindness. Hub Williamson is still missing. Christmas marked his 260th day absent from home.

• In November five men who were sexually abused while Boy Scouts told their stories. Decades later the abuse still haunts each man.

To everyone who gave me the trust to tell their story. Thank you. 

January will be the anniversary of my first year at The Billings Gazette. I’m looking forward to everyone I get to meet next year.

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