Giving Thanks in Troubled Times
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Civil unrest, political chaos, racial reckoning, global pandemic—by any measure it has been a difficult year. But Thanksgiving arrives this week and even in these times of turbulence and vexation there is still much for which we can give thanks. I asked a number of people around the town and county about some of the things they are thankful for this year. Here’s a sampling of what some of them had to say.
Satpal Sidhu, Whatcom County Executive: The year 2020 has been the most unique year in my lifetime. I am thankful for the first responders, health workers and all employees for their resilience to endure the COVID-19 pandemic with steady resolve. I am thankful for all the residents for their cooperation to keep COVID-19 in check. I am thankful for my family, for their constant support for my work as a public servant and keeping me in good health and spirits.
Hannah Stone, Bellingham City Council: During extremely challenging times, I am mindful that my circumstances can always be worse and to not take anything for granted. I count my blessings—I am grateful to have a roof over my head, food on my table and a family that loves me!
Rebecca Judd, Director, Bellingham Public Library: I am deeply grateful for my colleagues at the library. It has been a heck of a year with the pandemic and a major remodel happening simultaneously, but they have met each new challenge with grace, flexibility and a desire to offer our community the best service possible. What an amazing, amazing crew!
Greg Winter, Executive Director, Opportunity Council: I’ve never been more proud of the staff and volunteers at the Opportunity Council who rapidly transformed our services to help meet some of the most urgent needs of our community: housing stability, childcare, food security, early learning, access to care, and racial equity. And I’m thankful for the many ways our public and private partnering organizations and donors stepped up to help in our efforts to bring these services to those who have been impacted the most.
Shannon Wright, Executive Director, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities: I am grateful for nature and the comfort, healing and respite it has offered in small ways throughout this year; for the people who have rallied for justice and for one another; for the bonds of family, friends and community; for being alive on this planet, at this critical time.
Carol Frazey, Whatcom County Council: Even during a worldwide pandemic, I believe that we have a lot for which we can be thankful. As I reflect on these past nine months, I realize that there are countless individuals working their hardest to protect us, heal us, and feed us during these stressful times. These individuals include farmworkers, truck drivers, grocery-store workers, first responders, nurses, doctors and myriad others. Locally, our Unified Command, Whatcom County Health Department, and numerous volunteers have worked long hours to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our community and to provide for those most in need. We owe them a debt of gratitude. I am thankful for these individuals and to call Whatcom County my home.
Laura Clark, Executive Director, Whatcom Humane Society: I’m extremely thankful to the staff and volunteers who have and continue to go above and beyond the “paw” of duty to provide essential services to the animals and people in our community. No matter the day, no matter what is going on in the world around us, the dedicated people that work and volunteer at the Whatcom Humane Society have and continue to provide life-saving services to our most vulnerable animal populations. Their selfless acts, hard work and incredible and tireless dedication inspires me and makes me grateful that I live in such a kind, compassionate community. I’m thankful for our little corner of the world.
Seth Fleetwood, Mayor, City of Bellingham: I’m thankful that, from the compound crises of these times, there has emerged a sustaining public insistence that good come from all this. I’m optimistic and grateful that the 2020s still has the opportunity to be an enormously consequential, purpose-driven, decade of vital transformation.
Let me end this month’s column by adding that I am thankful for a spouse I cherish, friends I treasure, a community I am proud to be a part of, and the soul-nourishing beauty of the Pacific Northwest. A very happy thanksgiving to you all.