Why Chatham residents are thankful

Posted 11/26/20

2020 has been a very difficult year, all around. As you reflect on Thanksgiving in light of this pandemic-dominated world, what are you thankful for — or newly thankful for — right now?

I’m …

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Why Chatham residents are thankful

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2020 has been a very difficult year, all around. As you reflect on Thanksgiving in light of this pandemic-dominated world, what are you thankful for — or newly thankful for — right now?

I’m thankful to God for the gift of my family and friends and the gift of history to put this year in perspective of all the years that have passed. History tells us this is not the first pandemic, not the first contested election, not the first with weather damage. I am thankful to put this year in our collective rear-view mirror!

—Cindy Schmidt, Chatham Historical Museum

2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for all of us, and for some, the losses have been profound and life-altering. I do not want to diminish that reality for those who have lost loved ones, housing or employment. But, as we are contemplating our blessings in this season, I am especially grateful for the time that I have had with my young adult children and teens who, in the ordinary course of things, would be in far flung places starting new lives, enjoying college experiences and indulging in the affairs of young men that do not normally include their parents. Instead, I have been able to reconnect with these delightful youngsters who have been able to work and study online and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with having a big family when we thought that those years were behind us. Bathrooms are dirtier, grocery bills higher and squabbles occasionally erupt, but this unexpected gift of time is deeply appreciated and what I hope to remember best when I think of 2020.

—Karen Howard, Chatham County Board of Commissioners

Very grateful for my health and the good fortune of those close to me not having succumbed to COVID-19. Not everyone can say that.

—John McCann, Chatham County Schools

I’m thankful for our community, for the people that are helping people in need. It is amazing how much people volunteer to help those that don’t have food, rent, electricity, water. If we think about how much we have every day, it compels us to give to those that are struggling right now for NO FAULT of their own. Simply a systemic problem of inequality. I am of course grateful always to my friends and family. And this beautiful planet that we get to live on (as opposed to Mars or the MOON!)

—Tami Schwerin, Abundance NC

During a trying time for the nation, I am grateful for many things I know that others do not have. I am thankful that my husband and I are still employed, that I am able to work from home so I can help my kids with schoolwork, that we have food on the table and a roof over our heads. All of that said the true silver lining has come with a slowed schedule, more family dinners and being able to spend so much time with my kids and my husband.

—Jaime Detzi, Chatham Education Foundation

I am thankful for my health and being able to show love and kindness to my family and friends and the community at large. I am thankful for employment because it allows me to serve others, often disadvantaged through my time, talents and treasure.

—Indira Everett, Duke Energy

Well, in the first place, I am thankful to God for everything that he has done for me. Even though it was one of the hardest years losing my brother-in-law and knowing how millions of people passed away due to Covid-19, and natural disasters in my country (Guatemala). I am thankful because God never left me alone. He still has me here healthy and my family is here healthy as well. I am thankful because God is always sending people to help and support me in many ways. Even though it was a hard year, God never stopped opening doors for me. I got the opportunity to get a job at the public school. God opened the door for me to be part of the Chatham County 250th Celebration. I know he will continue blessing me more and more.

—Lendy Carias, Telamon Head Start

This Thanksgiving I am thankful first and foremost for my family. My two daughters and my wife of 29 years are everything to me and have always been supportive. Secondly, I am thankful for the amazing opportunity to serve the people of Chatham County with a team of professional, caring staff like no other I have worked with in my career. Our elected board cares deeply for the wellbeing of the public while at the same time wants the best for county staff. This supportive work environment enables staff to be creative and adaptable while maintaining a positive outlook through times of adversity like those we have recently experienced.

—Dan LaMontagne, Chatham County Manager

Managing life in the midst of a global pandemic has certainly proven to be been difficult and at times overwhelming. Caring for two elementary aged children while working a full-time job has not been easy. Although we’ve all experienced challenges there is still so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the time spent together with my family, thankful to be serving Chatham County youth at the Boys & Girls Club, and also for the small things in life that many of us have taken for granted: hikes with my kids, our pets, hearing the birds sing in the morning during my virtual morning meetings on the patio, and of course...Netflix and Disney Plus!

—Elizabeth Colebrook, Central Carolina Boys & Girls Clubs

At Cambridge Hills and Twin Rivers we’re thankful for the faith and trust that our resident families have placed in us to love and care for their family members. We’re thankful for our staff who are so selfless in their efforts and for our residents who share their lives with us. We’re thankful for our many community friends and partners for all that they do, as well.

—Mike Walters, Cambridge Hills

I am so thankful for our many Chatham County Schools’ employees and how hard they have all worked to help our students during this difficult time. I am also thankful for the many people that have taken the time to reach out to me to offer their support and to let me know they are thinking of me. I am also so very thankful for my family.

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving as well.

—Gary Leonard, Chatham County Board of Education

Some of the extracurricular activities I’m involved in have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. This has afforded me additional personal time in my life that I truly missed. I now use that time to simply relax, read a book, or spend time with my family. I’m thankful for this unexpected blessing amid this difficult time.

—Daniel Simmons, Central Carolina Boys & Girls Clubs

What a blessing to be alive in 2020! Knowing that I can worship and honor my Lord Jesus Christ that has so unselfishly washed my sins away through His Grace in the greatest country on earth is more than anyone could ask for. Knowing that it’s the little things that I have been blessed with that makes the big things even more amazing! Like my wonderful family headed up by the most amazing wife of our four daughters. Three loving son-in-laws that care so deeply for my “little girls.” Then there’s the blessing of six, count ‘em, 6 grandchildren that light up my life each and every day. Blessings of a place called home, a career that provided me a livelihood for our family, and a sense of knowing that I make a difference in so many lives day in and day out. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. Thanksgiving is a time to put all of this in perspective, but on the other hand, everyday gives us the opportunity to show our thanks! May this 2020 Thanksgiving with all it’s challenges, be one year that we look back on as a true blessing in making us more faithful, resilient, stronger, caring, and understanding. God Bless!

—David M. Hamm, Chatham County Board of Education

There is so much to lament this year, but I’m reminded again and again that the Bible doesn’t say to give thanks for all circumstances but to give thanks in all circumstances. To that end, I am especially thankful for the spirit of collaboration, partnership, and innovation that has emerged among businesses, individuals, and non-profits to help those in need and love our neighbors well in such trying times. I must also say that I am thankful for the resiliency of children, especially my kids Emma and Eliza, who continue to engage and embrace the world with curiosity, determination, and heart — encouraging me to follow their lead.

—The Rev. D. Brent Levy, The Local Church

As I reflect on Thanksgiving, in light of the pandemic, I am thankful for businesses, family, friends, health and paper products.

—Cindy Poindexter, Chatham Chamber of Commerce

I’m thankful for my wonderful family and the fact they have stayed healthy thus far through the pandemic. I’m thankful for great friends who I have always been able to lean on for strength and support throughout my life. I’m thankful for all the front-line employees, including health care workers, first responders, and utility workers for keeping us healthy and safe through this past year. I’m thankful for private business employees who have kept our restaurants, grocery, and retail stores open during this past year. Despite all the trials and tribulations, they had to endure they were there to make sure we were able to get the products we needed to survive. I’m thankful for the support and donations the community has given to the police department during this time. Everything the community does for us is greatly appreciated and never taken for granted. Finally, I’m also thankful for our community because even during the worst of times they are always willing to go the extra mile to help their neighbors in need.

—Shorty Johnson, Pittsboro Police Chief

As Chief of Police my greatest concern is the safety of my officers and civilian staff. During the pandemic they have been placed in additional harms ways. The day-to-day interactions in unknown environments is an added risk beyond officer safety and public service calls. I am grateful for their selfless service during this pandemic and the unwavering support we receive from our community and town leadership.

—Mike Wagner, Siler City Police Chief

I’m extremely grateful for everyone who helped pull off one of the most challenging elections this county and country has ever faced. Chatham is lucky to have a dedicated and professional staff, citizens who worked tirelessly as poll workers, and voters who remained civil despite our disagreements.

—Mike Barosso, Chatham County Board of Elections

The pandemic has made me especially thankful for the farmers we have in Chatham County. We’ve been farmers’ market customers for a while, but with supply chain issues, our desire to stay closer to home, and shop in spaces that felt safe, we increased the amount of food we purchase from local farms. It’s been amazing to watch our farmers step up to produce and distribute even more fresh, delicious food to our community. They are hard working, resilient, creative, and generous people. I’m incredibly grateful for them.

—Joelle Brummit-Yale, board member, Communities In Schools of Chatham County

I am thankful for Nancy Van Camp: that we are isolated together back here on the farm, successfully downsized even if by fire (not recommended). I am thankful for Zoom, email, telephone, internet, FaceTime, and these amazing connections with loving family and friends, especially Old Farts. I am thankful we have avoided meeting SARS-CoV-2. I am thankful to have known those who died last year, high school Ray and Charlie, Cousin Andrew, and here Ben, Alice, Margaret, Carl, Dee, and too many more. I am thankful for new friends all over the electronic world, for football on TV, but minus the fake crowd noise static.

—Dr. John Dykers, retired physician

Ginger and I are most thankful for our strong, engaged community. Our fellow citizens and neighbors have continued to show respect towards each other, and that is gratifying to see during these difficult times. TV does not show enough stories of the good things happening locally around you. Finally, we hope everyone will keep their sense of humor and remember what one wise person said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” and we add “as long as they keep on their masks and stay six feet away!”

—Paul Bauer, board member, Communities In Schools of Chatham County

I’m thankful for my community and the collective awakenings that have happened this year. Thankful for my ability to find silver linings in chaos and my body for her strength. I’m thankful for the gifts from nature: chestnuts falling, sweet potatoes, and N.C. apples. I’m thankful for my work pod of coworkers at Abundance NC and Fair Game Beverage Co., my friends, and family.

—Ally DeJong, Abundance NC

In a year that for so many has been filled with anxiety, strife and uncertainty, as Thanksgiving comes upon us, I reflect on the idea that things we find insignificant when we have them readily available become significant when we lose them. Even so, as bad as things may seem, there is always someone less fortunate than us. This year highlighted those disparities and prompts us to count our blessings like never before. To that end, I am thankful for the blessings of family and friends, and thankful for new blessings of my new community in Pittsboro, their trust in me as their Town Manager, their warm welcome and the support they have exhibited towards me and my family.

—Chris Kennedy, Pittsboro Town Manager

I am thankful for compassion, patience, and an awesome extended family, including my Chatham County Schools students, colleagues, and community. Take care, and have a great Thanksgiving!

—Dr. Derrick Jordan, Chatham County Schools Superintendent

I’m grateful for the goodness and the self-giving that I witness in our community.

—Fr. Julio A. Martinez, St. Julia Catholic Church, Siler City

I’m very thankful to be alive and healthy. My children and grandchildren are healthy also and to be able to provide support to the families in need. Gracias, gracias, gracias!

—Maria Soto, staff, Communities In Schools of Chatham County

I do agree on the fact that this year has been a difficult one, but what made it all better is my mum and Selina (Lopez). I’m thankful for having the best mother I could ever have. She has given a lot to me and my brother, looked out for us and has been working very hard to be able to provide us what we need. I’m also thankful for Selina, from OLP (Orgullo Latinx Pride) in EVH (The Hispanic Liaison) because she has been very supportive, reminds me to never give up and looks out for me as if she was also my mum. I appreciate both of them and love them very much.

—Ashley Perez, junior, Jordan-Matthews High School

I am thankful for family, friends, good food and good health. I am thankful for all those individuals who take time out of their busy schedules to help others in need, as well as to contribute to my well-being. I have priceless memories, more good than bad, and I thank God for them all.

—Mary Nettles, Chatham County Community NAACP

I’m grateful for having love & health and a loving, healthy family. I am grateful to be a part of Abundance NC and the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino program in which I am blessed on a daily basis. The community support with this program has been overwhelming and I constantly have to tell the people we help that it’s not me — it’s the community they live in. I am just a third party. Thank you, Piedmont neighbors, you rock!

—Marcela Slade, Abundance NC

Maggie and I are thankful for the courage and skill of our doctors, nurses and other health care workers who have been on the front lines saving lives. Their willingness to risk their own health has inspired many others to do all that is possible to safeguard the lives of our neighbors. We are grateful for the professionalism of our first responders, county and city officials who work tirelessly for this county and its future. We also admire the generosity of the people in Chatham County to provide meals to those in need because of the pandemic. We give thanks for the proud spirit of Americans everywhere who stepped forward to share our common burden and strengthen the common good.

—Bob Pearson, retired diplomat

I am thankful to be living in these interesting times. Despite the many challenges that have been thrown our way in 2020, I am inspired by the young souls of our community. Their advocacy for what they believe in, and their resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, gives me hope that they have what it takes to make positive and lasting change that will have a significant impact on future generations. I am so thankful for these young spirits pushing our community to find our best selves - a community that encourages ALL OF US to pursue our highest potential through unity and compassion for one another.

—Tych Cowdin, Communities In Schools Chatham County Executive Director

Today I am thankful to be able to provide and nurture a peaceful nature habitat for birds, worms, snakes, plants, insects, turtles and frogs. And it’s a respite for me during quarantine.

—Suza White, Pittsboro gardener

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the things I’m thankful for is the public’s new appreciation for the outdoors and connecting with nature, and the realization that we need more outdoor places for people to visit. I hope this new appreciation for the outdoors will result in a renewed commitment to investing in open space conservation. Getting outside in nature is a good way to lower stress levels and improve mental health.

—Gretchen Smith, Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area

I am so thankful for our wonderful town who is family to me, my boys, and having so much beautiful nature so close. The Bynum Bridge has become a place of comfort and serenity during these unsettled times.

—Beth Barrickman-Davis, Bynum resident

I applaud the healthcare workers; from the technicians to the doctors to the specialists. They are on the front line of the nation’s battle and mine, for I have chronic health issues. I salute my co-workers and colleagues, but as stagehands, we have no industry, much less work. My family is a blessing. My wife is a joy. These are the people who make up my life; them and my neighbors, and I am especially thankful to discover for myself the common decency and generous hearts of my previously anonymous neighbors this year. 2020 brought out the best in them.

—Dwayne Walls, Pittsboro resident

I am thankful for God’s daily new mercies; the love of family and friends; and the support of constituents and colleagues.

—Valerie Foushee, N.C. Senate

As always, I am so thankful for my savior, Jesus Christ and for my wonderful family - husband, children, grandchildren and mom. The joy they all bring to me every day can never be overstated. In addition and especially in these challenging times we are experiencing, I am incredibly thankful for my CCCC family--every day they continue to amaze me with their generosity and commitment to our students--what a great example of the good in our communities!

—Dr. Lisa Chapman, Central Carolina Community College President

We have not lived in Chatham County that long, but I am thankful for new friends and neighbors in our neighborhood who have made this pandemic year bearable — their friendship has been a blessing!

—Janie Butler, Chatham resident


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