| G. Michael Dobbs
This is the time of year everyone is supposed to take a moment and express some sort of thanks for the positive things in their lives.
I know this is oftentimes a very difficult task. There are too many people who are facing overwhelming situations, frequently not of their own doing. I understand finding something positive can be tough.
For those of use who have fewer obstacles in our lives, giving thanks should be a requirement. I’m thankful for people who are doing a great job in this community and for this community.
For instance, my friend Brian Hale does a wonderful job – against the odds I should add – with his stewardship of the Big Arts Center.
Belle Rita Novak has created a great institution in Springfield with the Farmers Market at Forest Park.
Tina D’Agostino has been working to bring in shows to CityStage and Symphony Hall for many years. Her company will no longer have the contract to do that shortly, and I have to say that Tina has been one of the unsung heroes in economic development as well as the region’s entertainment scene. I don’t think she has received the praise she should have.
I’m thankful for all of the people who volunteer on neighborhood councils or civic associations. They take valuable time to be the watchdogs and advocates for their neighborhoods.
I’m thankful for people who take on jobs that receive little attention, but are necessary. When was the last time you thanked a farmer, for instance, or the workers who takes your trash away? Many people make important contributions to the way we live and yet are invisible.
Other people elect to work in positions that can send them right into harm’s way, such as first responders and members of the military. They should be thanked.
I’m also thankful for the small business people who have taken their passions, their dreams and made it a reality, often times at great risk. My friends Joe Hendrix of Smokey Joe’s Cigar Lounge and Holly Woods of Pole Control Studios are just two local examples of people who are living the American dream.
I’m also thankful for the work my former colleague Natasha Clark is doing as an expert and advocate for business development for women.
I have the privilege of knowing some very smart people, such Anthony Cignoli, Steve Carey and Michael Harrison. I’m thankful for those friendships.
I’m thankful for the people who try to improve people’s lives with little fanfare. This hits home for me as my wife Mary heads up the Community Survival Center, a non-profit emergency food pantry. Every day her organization, along with many others, makes a difference for people in need.
I am naturally thankful for the relationships in my life – my spouse and other family members – as well as loyal friends.
I’m thankful I still have a job. Frankly, this summer when I was told this company had been sold, I thought, “That’s that.” My past in terms of being a competitor to the daily paper was sure to catch up with me.
Apparently they wanted me to stay and they wanted my excellent staff to say. Our boss, Fran Smith, has been an excellent supervisor.
I’m very thankful for the talented news crew here.
I realize that the life a person has built can be swept away by one event in a second. Sometimes those situations are the result of decisions a person makes, but often they are uncontrollable and couldn’t be predicted. Being thankful for what you do have, for who you are and for the people in your life seems to be a way to bring a little security to a insecure world.
I hope you have something or someone for which you are thankful this Thanksgiving.