Residents offer thanks for health, family


By Anthony Conchel - aconchel@aimmediamidwest.com



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Vicky Spring speaks for many when she says she’s most thankful for her health. She was among those Morrow County residents who answered The Sentinel’s query leading up to Thanksgiving Day.

“I’m 75, have lived in Harmony Township for 31 years and raised two beautiful sons by myself since 1976. One son just retired after 27 years from Delaware Sheriff’s Department; my other son was a Deputy for Morrow County while he working his own landscaping business for 26 years.”

Spring retired from the School Employees Retirement System after 30 years and has “one beautiful grandson and one great-grandson. I love working in my yard … I’m so thankful for my health that I can enjoy everything God has given me,” she said.

Johnsville’s Nancy Jesson echoed her gratitude for good health.

“I am thankful that I am able to be out and about. For my sisters that we can do things together. That my parents raised us as Christians and for my Christian friends,” she said.

“For my classmates that are left and that we still get to gather once a month. But not this year.”

Martha Kuhn took a political slant, saying she is “thankful that we voted Trump out,” referring to the Nov. 3 general election.

Others in the community offered more personal thoughts.

“I am extremely grateful that 2020 afforded me the opportunity to ‘pause,’ be still and reflect on those that I love the most,” said Cardington’s LeAnne Gompf.

“While I am thankful for a full and busy life professionally and personally, the quiet times at home I experienced this past year have renewed my attitude of appreciation and gratitude for family and friends I often take for granted.”

Gompf said Thanksgiving will be celebrated with “my immediate family and we will participate in our annual Gingerbread House decorating. This tradition started 18 years ago and continues with the grand babies.”

Erin Kelty acknowledged it’s been a difficult year — but found a silver lining.

“It’s had its joys, though. I feel grateful that I still have a job. I’m grateful for the time spent with my family that I may not have had if not for this pandemic. I’m grateful for the memories we’ve made and for the ways it’s taught my girls to study a little differently and overcome obstacles that they may not have had otherwise,” she said.

“Resiliency is only something that is learned in troubled times. It certainly has given our family pause to realize what we have instead of what we don’t.”

Conni McChesney said she’s grateful for several things.

“First and foremost, I am thankful for my Lord, Jesus Christ. Without Him, it would have been hard to get through this year.

“Next is my family, my wonderful husband of 37 years, Bruce, my three amazing children and their spouses and my four incredibly beautiful grandchildren. I have a lot to be thankful for faith, family and friends,” she said.

Chris Conant, local Realtor, appreciated the slower pace.

“In this ‘weird’ year of 2020, I am most thankful for slowing down. Spending more time with family and being able to take the time to discover new hobbies and reset my own personal well-being. I have been lucky enough to work in an industry that has stayed busy, yet I have realized the importance of slowing down and taking more time for myself and my family,” he said.

“Although Thanksgiving will look a little different with less family traveling, I still look forward to taking the time to give thanks for all that 2020 has provided.”

Frank Hickman was raised on a family farm in Westfield Township.

“Watching my mother cooking in our tiny kitchen with all those great smells and then the sight of all the ‘fixins’ laid out on the table. The annual pheasant and rabbit hunting foray with my Dad on our farm on Thanksgiving morn. Then visiting and the joyous laughter they brought as all the family gathered together. The comfort of being with family as we surrounded the Thanksgiving table to thank the Lord on this special day,” he said.

His wife Diane grew up in the city.

“So much great food, my Mom’s cooking, and many fun stories — some new, some well-known and oft repeated, but still enjoyed with every telling. Later as a young adult our celebration would include the Friday after Thanksgiving shopping trips with all available females in the family to the big city of Indianapolis for the start of Christmas shopping,” she said.

United Way of Morrow County Executive Director Jodi Hayes kept it simple.

“I know it sounds redundant, but I am particularly thankful for my family … and the memories we have made and continue to make,” she said.

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By Anthony Conchel

aconchel@aimmediamidwest.com