This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family and many friends. I’ll again drive to my ole hometown of Wheeling and celebrate the holiday with my mom and sister Erinand her family. I’m overjoyed that my son, Connor, will accompany me. Of all the things of this past year for which I’m most thankful, it’s the turnaround for Con. Where there’s hope, there’s the possibility for fully recovering from whatever plagues us. We all can help to provide hope for those who need it most.
To those who’ve lost someone recently, we’re there with each of you as you try hard to proceed on without your loved ones. We miss Shawn Tucker, Roy Pettit, Tappen Squires, Matt Hymes and April Keating among others. They were all prominent figures who worked hard with us to make our community better.
Those who have lost loved ones recently go through what you’ve heard me call first-time-itis, that especially tough first of everything without your loved ones – holidays, birthdays, vacations – I choose to think, as a guy who’s perhaps not as religious as many of my friends, that our loved ones’ spirits are still with us. At least, I find myself comforted by that belief.
We’re thinking about our friends who are battling illness this Thanksgiving – close friends like Larry Brown, our own C.J. Rylands, and so many others who are battling cancer or other serious health challenges.
We’re very mindful of those who protect us, the members of our armed forces who can’t be with their families. We are mindful that Veterans’ Day was just a few days ago and thank every person who is now serving or who has ever served our great nation. And yes, we are acutely aware of others who can’t be with us this holiday season – who are incarcerated, residing in nursing homes, or otherwise institutionalized. We pray for all of our lost and challenged souls to be found, to have their challenges alleviated.
I’m thankful for this body of people on our City Council who I know are each committed to improving our community, to moving us forward, to making this very special place even better for everyone who lives here.
I am so very thankful for our amazing, excellent city employees who serve us so well and who I sincerely appreciate and respect more each day. They are all talented, dedicated and creative people who put their hearts and souls into their work to make us better. We couldn’t accomplish anything without them.
I’m thankful for our growing, vibrant community and our many contributing citizens who help us achieve so many things. We have a volunteer base like no other town in West Virginia – people who give so generously of their time and resources every single day. Thanks to each of you.
This holiday is not just about being reflective of how blessed we are, to give thanks, but it’s also about reaching out to those who have had more than their fair share of challenges, who don’t have as much as others of us to be thankful for.
We know families whose breadwinners have been displaced. We know families who’ve been hurt, disrupted due to family members who are victims of substance abuse. We know persons who are challenged by health, age, infirmity. We know too many lonely souls, often our elderly.
Please – I implore you – take a moment out of your day in the next week to reach out to someone who will be uplifted by your token act of kindness. Knock on a door or two, drop off a pie to a neighbor, be randomly liberal with your smiles. Engage folks around you. You just never know how much something seemingly so small, can matter so much to someone else. Do it for yourself – I guarantee you’ll feel better about life if you go out of your way to be kind to others.
Of all of the attributes that we may manifest as human beings, I believe the most important one is the virtue of kindness. We truly are ALL in THIS together. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Statement delivered at the Thursday, Nov. 21 city council meeting.