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Until next time, Elkhart

After a year of telling your tales of struggle and recovery at the epicenter of America’s economic meltdown, the journalists of msnbc.com are stepping back from your daily lives.

But as we shut down our “bureau” at the Maple Lane Apartments and cease our regular reporting trips, we’d like to thank you for sharing your stories and lives with us this past year.

“The Elkhart Project” would not have been possible without your help.

From civic and government leaders, to our partners at The Elkhart Truth, and regular folks in all corners of the county, you opened doors and shared your experiences with us even, speaking frankly even when reality was painful.

You helped us trace your community’s sudden economic decline, track the political promises, follow the money and find signs of recovery.

Elkhart County’s established citizens told us their stories of ruin and redemption while its next generation shared their hopes and dreams.

You let us in on your conversations with President Obama and allowed us to take your portraits at the Elkhart County 4H Fair.

You invited us into your factories, offices, restaurants, charities and homes.

Through your lives, Americans got a glimpse of where their nation has come from and where it may be going.

John Brecher/msnbc.com

A freight train passes through downtown Elkhart.

We hope they saw the same brave, proud and entrepreneurial people we got to know on our visits to Elkhart County.

Those visits are on hold for now, but not forever.

In the future, we’ll return from time to time to find out how the folks we’ve met are faring, to document Elkhart’s recovery and reinvention and to bring the stories of Main Street — your stories — to readers across the country.