This Thanksgiving, what are you most thankful for?


I am thankful for two healthy children (including our 2-week-old Emily) and our wonderful team at the Public Health Department.

Mike Zelek, director of Chatham County Public Health Department

I’m incredibly thankful for this wild quirky life and community here in Chatham County. I feel like we have one of the most special places in the world to live. I’m grateful for the farmers, the artists, the chefs, the small business owners, the many folks that keep this town running, the trees, the rivers and the lake. So much abundance. There is enough.


Tami Schwerin, The Plant

This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my family. I was lucky enough to grow up with a large extended family and all of my greatest memories are family-centered. I love the fact that my kids are getting that same experience now. God and the love and support of my extended family, along with my wife and children, are the primary reasons for all of the good in my life.

Rep. Robert Reives II
N.C. House, Dist. 54

I am thankful to have lived 58 years with the wonderful people of Siler City, the surrounding countryside where my home is, and all of Chatham County. It would be remiss not to include all of North Carolina and the South. You gave me wonderful people to be my patients as I learned to practice medicine. Grand opportunities to learn about birthing babies and calving and raising the young to promising adults. You welcomed my efforts at new business, cushioned my failures and enjoyed my successes. I am most thankful for the opportunities that still beckon our combined efforts.

Dr. John R. Dykers Jr.
Retired physician

Now that Chatham County’s dark history has been confronted, I am thankful to have the chance to help build a strong county where racial justice can be achieved. Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I am truly thankful for the opportunity to help impact change in Chatham County.

Mary Nettles
President, Community Remembrance Coalition-Chatham & Chatham Community NAACP

I’m thankful for time with family and friends, for good health, and for the ability to work in and for an amazing community.

Allen Baddour
Chatham/Orange County Superior Court Justice

I am thankful for the good people in Chatham County who are working to make life better for all of us. I’m grateful for our elected officials, for people who are working for racial justice, for people addressing the climate crisis, and for all those who serve on committees and civic organizations who work to make our democracy stronger.

Vickie Atkinson
Member, CRC-C

I am thankful for friends and family, businesses in Chatham County and the relationships I have built, the opportunity to work for the Chatham Chamber, and for knowing that God always takes care of us.

Cindy Poindexter
President, Chatham Chamber of Commerce

I am thankful for each of the participants, volunteers, and staff members at the Council on Aging!

Ashlyn Martin
Director, Chatham County Council on Aging

This year I’m most grateful for family: my husband, our 12-year-old dog, and our small extended families. Several generations of us are scattered across the country, but this summer we enjoyed our first reunion since COVID. We’re also fortunate to have dear friends going back decades, most in N.C. but elsewhere too, and have been able to enjoy time in person again this year. We’re new in Chatham (a couple of years) and are enjoying our home and also getting to know the community, which has resources from native plants and farming/gardening experts to food coops and groups like CORA working to improve life for all. That’s a few on a long list — and we’re glad to have a strong local news source in the Chatham News + Record, too.

Melanie Sill
Former editor, Raleigh News & Observer, Sacramento Bee

I’m thankful that since my first Thanksgiving, circa1960, the global rate of starvation has declined by a factor of 100. Ingenuous agricultural technology made this possible even as the population grew to be almost 3x larger. I’m thankful for semi-retirement. U.S. life expectancy in 1960 was about the same as the average retirement age. Thanks to better medical knowledge and a wealthier population, a retiring person today can expect to live another 20 years. I’m thankful for the internet. In 1960 the 20-volume World Book Encyclopedia cost $1,700 in today’s dollars, updated yearly for another $200. The internet costs $900/year and has 5 billion times more information, updated continuously for free. An internet user can find friends among the other 6 billion internet users. A very lucky internet user could even work with colleagues all over the world from the comfort of a place they love. Let’s make sure everyone is able to access the internet. Finally, although I complain because things could be better, when I remember past visits to countries with highly-corrupt and dysfunctional institutions I am profoundly thankful to be here.

Burney Waring
President, Innovate Chatham

I am so thankful to live in the USA where we are still allowed to worship our religious beliefs the way we choose! I am thankful for my God that is so gracious to continually forgive me of my short comings while I attempt to live a Christian life worthy of His acceptance. I am thankful for my wife of 42 and a half years. I am thankful for our four daughters, son-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren! My final thought is that through the years Chatham County Schools has given me the opportunity to serve its children, parents, and communities for over four decades. May God continue to Bless our families in Chatham County. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all!

David Hamm
Chatham County Board of Education

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am thankful for my wife of 50 years and our kids and grandkids, and for the good health all of us enjoy. I am thankful for living in beautiful Chatham County, N.C., and I am thankful for waking up today in “the land of free, the home of the brave.” Let each of us extend a helping hand to all, so that all of us may enjoy this celebration of a bountiful life.

Rick Brownfield
Chatham County GOP

I am especially thankful this year for the opportunity to serve the children of Chatham County and support Chatham County Schools. It is truly incredible to see up close how everyone employed by the school system works so hard every single day to help our children learn and grow. I am also thankful for my husband Diego and our two little girls. They make life better than I thought possible.

Julie Bridenstine
Chatham County Board of Education

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful, as always, for my loving, supportive family, especially my great-grandson, who makes my heart sing everyday. I am also immensely grateful for the opportunity to literally help shape the future of Chatham County and through the children, the world.

Del Turner
Chatham County Board of Education

I am thankful for our family, especially for another granddaughter, Ryann, to spoil. I am also thankful for our Chatham community for all the kind gestures that they do for each other.

Gary Leonard
Chairperson, Chatham County Board of Education

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful to see our students and staff have the opportunity to return to a more normal learning environment. Our students are thriving, and I am deeply appreciative for the help we are able to provide with social and emotional support in the wake of the pandemic. I could not ask for better colleagues than the ones I have in Chatham County Schools. Their dedication and the results they help their students achieve are qualities I appreciate every day. Watching our students develop, whether it’s through academics, athletics or the Arts, is so fulfilling, and something I am so glad I have the opportunity to witness. We are fortunate to be part of a community that so strongly supports and invests in public education. Our county leaders and partners such as the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Chatham Education Foundation have been invaluable in assisting us in providing outstanding opportunities for our students. Being part of the Chatham community has been an extremely rewarding experience. On a personal note, I am thankul for my family and good health. My grandchildren bring me pure joy every day. I am also thankful to the Chatham News + Record for providing the opportunity for so many in the community to share what is on our hearts and minds this Thanksgiving. I hopes everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

Dr. Anthony Jackson
Superintendent, Chatham County Schools

I am thankful to be part of a community that has had visionary leadership over the past decade that has positioned us to be ready the economic development successes we have had in 2022. I am grateful for a board that is very supportive of our staff and continues to be a resource for us. This is such an exciting time to be in Chatham County and to be a part of the significant growth and opportunities we will have going forward. I look forward to 2023 and the work we will do together to continue the momentum we now have.

Michael Smith
President, Chatham Economic Development Corporation

I am grateful for the spectacular colors of October, November’s rain from Tropical Storm Nicole, and a routine Chatham-style election on November 8 where 65.2% of our registered voters cast their ballots. Living in Chatham is a blessing, and I was privileged to have been your County Commissioner these last eight years. Thank you.

Diana Hales
Chatham County Board of Commissioners

I am grateful for the men and women of the Siler City Police Department (sworn and civilian) who remain committed to serving our community. May God continue to bless them.

Mike Wagner
Chief, Siler City Police Department

I am thankful for the natural beauty of Chatham County. We are incredibly lucky to live in such a gorgeous area of the planet — one with ready access to so many blue and green spaces. I encourage more residents to enjoy these features and do their part to preserve them for future generations.

Mike Roberson
Sheriff, Chatham County

I am grateful for the kindness and generosity of others. Chatham County was recently highlighted as the most charitable county in N.C., and I think that speaks volumes about the hearts and minds of our residents. I personally associate Chatham with a shared love of community, helpful attitudes, and unparalleled empathy … The people here are a daily source of inspiration!

Sara Pack
Chatham County Sheriff’s Office

I am thankful to have grown up with World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans. It gave me a deep appreciation for our freedom and the high price that was paid so that we can have a Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I have been privileged to serve as a Siler City Commissioner and hope I have been able to contribute in a meaningful way for the betterment of the town. It’s a scary thought to me, that I lived, but was not able to make someone’s life better.

Curtis Brown
Siler City Commissioner

This year I am thankful to call Siler City home and be a part of this growing community while we prepare for the future development of our town.

Hank Raper
Town Manager, Siler City

I’m thankful for my two boys and eternally grateful to the voters and community of Pittsboro, for their acceptance and for the opportunity to be a small part of such an active and informed community.

James Vose
Pittsboro Town Commissioner

I am thankful we live in a democracy. I am thankful at the local level we focus on solving problems, not politics.

Hazen Blodgett
Interim Pittsboro Town Manager

I am grateful for this peaceful and vibrant community.

Cindy Perry
Mayor, Town of Pittsboro

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have the privilege of living and working in the town of Pittsboro, where there is a true sense of community. Our residents, business owners, and visitors give their time and service to better the town, making the work day much easier.

Colby Sawyer
Public Information Officer & Emergency Management Coordinator, Pittsboro

We are so very thankful for the wonderful donations from local organizations, businesses, churches and individuals. Without those we could not serve county residents fully.

Diane Smith
Executive Director, West Chatham Food Pantry

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for American voters’ defense of democracy. I look forward to greater national unity in addressing the issues important to our future. When subsequent generations celebrate Thanksgiving, I pray that they will do so in a world that is peaceful and caring.

Dennis W. Streets
Retired director, Chatham Council on Aging

I am thankful for COVID vaccines and boosters. I know the virus continues to spread and evolve, but the data is very clear that vaccines and boosters work. We are so lucky that we live in space and time of such medical advancements. I am also forever thankful of my teammates here at UNC Health Chatham. They are an incredibly skilled and dedicated group and remain committed to Siler City and Chatham County.

Eric Wolak
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, UNC Health Chatham

I would say I’m most thankful for the men and women who work or volunteer at North Chatham Fire Department, the sacrifices that families often make when they are at work, and safety for everyone particularly dueing the holiday season, and a special pray for all those who loved ones are not with them to celebrate the holidays.

John W. Strowd Jr.
Chief, North Chatham Volunteer Fire Department

I’m most thankful for my son! He is my favorite person. I’m also so thankful that I’ve been able to live an extraordinary life while doing my best to serve others.

Melissa Driver-Beard

I am thankful for my family, for my friends, for my community, and for the opportunities presented to Chatham County. May we all be happy, safe, and blessed.

Franklin Gomez Flores
Chatham County Board of Commissioners

This year I am especially grateful for the blessings of health and home. Being able to gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving (with vaccines and boosters!) is a gift after the forced separation during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also grateful for a precious granddaughter who has brought light and laughter to our lives after the loss of my father. And in Chatham, I am grateful that we are seeing investment and opportunity for a broad cross-section of residents at a time when other communities are struggling to meet the most basic of needs. We are truly blessed.

Karen Howard
Chairperson, Chatham County Board of Commissioners