Buffalo, N.Y. — The city of Buffalo faced a series of devastating events in 2022, yet emerged with remarkable resilience.
In May, a horrific incident occurred when a young white gunman killed 10 Black individuals and injured three at a local Tops supermarket in a racially motivated attack. Following this, Buffalo was struck by a severe blizzard just before Christmas, resulting in the loss of 46 lives in the area.
Amidst these tragedies, the community was shaken again on the second day of the new year when Damar Hamlin, safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed during a match against Cincinnati, his heart having momentarily stopped.
In the face of these adversities, the people of Buffalo responded with extraordinary empathy and solidarity, demonstrating to the world why the city is known as the City of Good Neighbors. This unwavering spirit of kindness has now garnered Buffalo a prestigious recognition:
Reader’s Digest has declared Buffalo the nicest place in America.
“Despite natural disasters, shooting tragedies and Damar Hamlin’s near-death experience, Buffalo’s community is stronger than ever,” the magazine stated.
The 2023 edition of Reader’s Digest’s annual “Nicest Places in America” contest awarded Buffalo the top honor for its response to each of these heart-rending events.
After the racially motivated attack at Tops, the community rallied, raising over $6 million in just three weeks to support the survivors, as reported by WGRZ.
During the Christmas blizzard, numerous Buffalonians emerged as heroes, offering their homes and businesses as shelters, and extending their hearts to aid those endangered by the storm. Among them was Sha’Kyra Aughtry, who rescued Joe White, a man with developmental disabilities, from freezing to death outside her house.
Furthermore, when Hamlin was critically injured during the Bengals game, fans of the Bills Mafia and others raised nearly $9 million for his toy drive. Hamlin plans to use these funds to support youth through education and sports via his new charity, the Chasing M Foundation.
In a letter featured in Reader’s Digest accompanying the award, Hamlin expressed his gratitude towards Buffalo, reflecting on the city’s tenacity.
“There isn’t a beach in the world that I would trade for the gift I’ve been given to become part of this community and feel its warm embrace. The people of this great city inspire me to keep praying, keep loving, keep going, no matter what the circumstances. To count my blessings and just show up every day with love,” Hamlin wrote.
“As I look forward, I’m grateful to call this city home, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Buffalo is a city of fighters, and I’m proud to be one of them.”