Community members share what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving

Though we should strive toward daily gratitude, appreciating all the small things that make us smile, sometimes it is too easy to get wrapped up in all the "have tos" and "need tos" that can overwhelm us.

A few years ago, someone taught me the difference between "have to" and "get to." It blew my mind.

I don't have to go to work. I get to go to work because I have a college education, experience and a job.

I don't have to pay my bills. I get to pay my bills because I have a steady source of income.

I don't have to clean my house. I get to clean my house because I'm lucky enough to have a roof over my head.

I don't have to eat healthfully. I get to eat healthfully because we have fresh and affordable produce that is easily accessible.

I don't have to exercise. I get to exercise because my body is whole and healthy.

And this Thanksgiving, I get to cook a turkey, I get to pull out the China dishes, I get to share the day with those I love most and I even get to have time to soak up the little moments that make me smile.

— Lori Hall, West Linn Tidings editor

I am thankful for my new opportunity to be a part of the West Linn community. I am also thankful for the good health and happiness of my family and friends. I wish everyone the best this holiday season.

— Lance Calvert, West Linn public works director

I am thankful for the joy in others that brings out the joy in me. I am thankful for the quiet moments in life where one can reflect and appreciate just plain being alive.

— Janet Yu, West Linn Public Library page

I am thankful for turkey, stuffing and gravy.

— Cliff Newell, West Linn Tidings reporter

This year, and every year, I am amazed and thankful for my family — especially my grandparents. Of course, the road hasn’t always been smooth, but I’m happy I inherited my family’s sense of humor. We’re a big bunch and we can laugh about pretty much anything. They’ve taught me the power of a positive attitude and the rewards of working hard. Every day I wake up and hear my grandpa’s voice saying, “Never, never, never give up.” Happy Thanksgiving, have a good laugh and make something cool happen.

— Nicole DeCosta, Pamplin Media Group associate editor

I am thankful for great leadership in the West Linn community.

— Jeri Knudson, West Linn director of human resources

The two F’s, family and friends, are at the top of my list of what I am thankful for. I also am appreciative of memories and the warm glow they provide when I think back to the holidays with my own daughters or, even further, back to when I was little and my parents made all the magic happen.

Of course, I would be remiss without mentioning my favorite Thanksgiving memory of all time: My two brothers, father, three grandparents and myself were seated at the dining room table, awaiting my mom’s arrival with the turkey for my dad to carve and serve (we were very traditional back then).

The table was loaded with all the trappings of a beautiful holiday meal as my mom and both my grandmothers were very festive, creative and wonderful chefs.

I leaned back in my chair to check out what my mom was doing just in time to see her attempting to pull a very large cooked turkey out of the oven and onto a platter that she had balanced on the oven door.

Alas, my mom’s arm buckled under the weight of the big bird and it literally “flew” over the platter, hydroplaned on the marble tile floor in the kitchen, slid across the dining room and living room carpets (while leaving a significant brown turkey stain) and crashed into the hearth below our fireplace in the living room. Altogether the bird traveled close to 35 to 40 feet.

As I watched this turkey trot unfold, I got to laughing so hard that I fell out of my chair. Slightly gaining my composure, I looked into the kitchen and saw that my mom had sunk to the floor and had this amazing look of both befuddlement and amusement on her face. Our eyes met and we both crumpled into laughter.

No one else at the table was aware of what had happened beneath them; they just tried to figure out what the laughter was all about from under the dining room table (me) and from the kitchen (my mom).

Before anyone had a chance to investigate, my mom took the long way around to the living room, picked up the rather forlorn-looking turkey, brought it back to the kitchen where she rinsed it off, put it on a platter with some parsley and brought it to the table for my dad to carve.

It wasn’t until the glorious meal was over that the two grandmothers noticed and asked about the long stain on the carpet. That was all my mom and I needed to lose control again in another round of laughter.

I lost my mother last December but this is one of many special memories I have of our time together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

— Martin Forbes, Lake Oswego Review editor

I’m thankful for my iPhone, for democracy, for my friends and family, and for this job!

— Drew Dakessian, Lake Oswego Review reporter

I am thankful that I live where I live, that I am a part of a wonderful family that is sharing good health and that we were given the opportunity to host a wonderful young lady from China this year. Each year is a blessing in its own way.

— Mike Jones, West Linn city councilor 

I am thankful for a family that is just a phone call away. A boyfriend who believes in me, even when I do not. Three cats that snuggle me when I’m home sick from work and a new city that constantly surprises me.

— Jordy Byrd, West Linn Tidings reporter

I am thankful for my dear family, those near and far, and for our many, many wonderful friends. I am thankful for those who use their creative talents to enrich our lives, be it by making artisan cheese or other foods, wine, art, music, dance, films and drama, writings, artistic furnishings  — all the things that add spice to our lives.

— Barb Randall, West Linn Tidings reporter

I am thankful for my family, friends and new colleagues. It’s now time to cherish those around us and look forward to the upcoming holiday season.  

— Thomas Frank, West Linn city councilor elect 

I am thankful for being able to serve the public to the best of my abilities in my position as chief financial officer for the city.

— Richard Seals, West Linn chief financial officer

I am thankful for the new Marylhurst Park playground and spray fountain — what wonderful additions to West Linn — a job well done by West Linn Parks and Recreation.

— Kirsten Wyatt, West Linn assistant city manager

I am thankful for a wonderful family, amazing friends, a great job in a beautiful city and that the sun is still shining in November.

— Lauren DeLorenzo, West Linn accounting manager

In addition to my family and friends, I’m also grateful to live and work in a community that truly is a “community.” Because so many people take the time to get involved to make a difference in our community, we are all better off for it.

— J. Brian Monihan, West Linn Tidings publisher

I would like to give thanks for the all the smart people I have the opportunity to work with that assist me in delivering a positive experience for those I support. So easy is it to undervalue the contributions of those surrounding you that contribute to your own daily success. I believe everyone has a positive contribution to make in some way, it’s just being patient enough to identify in which way people are able to contribute.

Shane Boyle, city of West Linn vice CIO


The kind and gracious parents, board members, students and families of Three Rivers Charter School. They make coming to school every day ... like Thanksgiving. 

— Katherine Holtgraves, Three Rivers Charter School administrator

I am thankful for the good health of my family and friends. I am also thankful to work for an organization that cares about and involves its employees in finding solutions to large, complex and difficult issues — like the current budget issue West Linn faces.

— Jim Whynot, West Linn operations supervisor

I am particularly thankful for the fine folks at Clackamas Fire District #1, American Medical Response and the staff and facilities at Adventist Medical Center for helping my family get through a very scary medical emergency.

— Ken Worcester, West Linn Parks and Recreation director

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in and for such a thoughtful, visionary school district and community — for all that people do for others with such grace, care and excellence. I also feel so fortunate to work where third-grade classes say they are thankful for: our teachers and our learning and Sunset. We are also grateful for our family, friends, freedom, plenty of food and clean water. Thank you for all you bring to our community.

— Lisa Hawking, Sunset Primary School principal

I am very thankful to be able to do work that I love with students, colleagues, and a community so proud and supportive of children and schools. I am grateful for the encouragement and inspiration afforded me every day by my family, friends and my school community. I hope you have a great holiday.

— Bill Rhoades, West Linn-Wilsonville School District superintendent

I am thankful that West Linn is such a wonderful community to raise our family.

— Jenni Tan, West Linn city councilor

Any day you’re here is a good day. I thank God for being in America.

— Celeste Rose, West Linn Adult Community Center member

Good health and my family getting together around the holidays.

— Marie Horvath, West Linn Adult Community Center member

I am grateful to all those who have brought knowledge and kindness to the world, because they have made life interesting, fun and meaningful.

— John Kovash, mayor of West Linn

I’m thankful to work in a school district where I am continually inspired by colleagues and students. I’m also thankful for the people of West Linn who support our schools and share their children with us.

— Emilie Bennett, Sunset Primary School instructional coordinator

I have so many things to be thankful for this year, but on the top of my list are my amazing and silly family, great friends, health and having an abundance of fun, meaningful and challenging work. I am truly blessed to live in a community like ours and to be surrounded by so many talented people doing extraordinary things for our kids and our schools. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

— Keith Steele, West Linn-Wilsonville School Board chair

I am grateful for the incredible coalition that makes our schools outstanding: community, parents, teachers, staff and students! 

— Betty Reynolds, West Linn-Wilsonville School Board chair

Beyond my family and friends, I am thankful to teach amazing and hardworking middle school students in a community that values the arts as an essential element of education for all children. I am grateful that parents, Music and Art Partners and the Rosemont Ridge PTO have been so tremendously supportive of our school programs because they really know that the arts matter.

— Linda Kieling, Rosemont Ridge Middle School visual art educator

I am thankful I’m going to be a first-time grandma in March! Woo, hoo!

— Kathy Mollusky, West Linn city recorder

I am thankful to live and work in this city. I am thankful for our supportive community, which cares deeply for one another. I am thankful for parents who require their children to be respectful, disciplined, thoughtful and generous. Happy Thanksgiving!

— Karen Pyeatt, West Linn-Wilsonville School District nurse

On this Thanksgiving I am very thankful for a loving and supportive family, a wonderful community to live in and a country with the all the freedoms that we enjoy.

— Jody Carson, West Linn city councilor

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