By Brandon Martin
Even with new restrictions in place and increases in infection rates, thankfulness and gratitude are abundant, according to several local officials and some staff members.
“I’m so grateful and blessed for my health,” said Debra Buchanan, vice chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors and of the Horsepasture District. “I’m thankful for my family and grandchildren, who make me laugh each chance they get over Zoom and the telephone. I’m also thankful for all my extended family. I feel blessed that I’m still able to get out and help people in a variety of different ways. With everything going on, I’m just thankful that I’m able to sit back and enjoy the simple things.”
Joe Bryant, of the Collinsville District, said he is “thankful for God letting me live another year. My family has been able to get through COVID-19 so far generally unscathed. I’m happy that the year is almost over and hopefully a vaccine will soon be available. I’m thankful that the county has been able to work through the virus so well. Even with the pandemic, there were no major setbacks or anything.”
As always, I’m thankful for the health of family and friends,” said Dr. J. David Martin, of the Iriswood District. “We’ve been able to still connect over Zoom and phone calls, so that’s been wonderful with the holiday season upon us. I’m thankful that we live in a county that I believe is progressive and attentive to the needs of the citizenry. I’m sure that with the new year around the corner, we will have a lot more to be thankful for as well.”
Ryan Zehr, of the Ridgeway District, said he is “just grateful for the everyday things like family, friends and health. So far, so good this year, and I hope it continues to be that way.”
Deputy County Administrator Dale Wagoner said “the grace of God is my most thankful thing this year. The health of my family during the pandemic has been good. We have hard working people in the county, and they do it selflessly. We ask a lot of them and they don’t mind one bit.”
Martinsville Mayor Kathy Lawson said she is “thankful for my health and that of my family members. During this time of pandemic, it seems there’s no rhyme or reason how or why someone becomes infected with the virus. You may think you’re doing everything right and still get it. I am thankful to live in a community where people care about one another and pull together for the greater good of all, especially now during the holiday season. There’s so many organizations and churches that come together to provide for those in need. I am thankful to work with wonderful people. Whether it’s my work family at Burton and Company, the employees of the city, or our fellow citizens, I feel blessed beyond measure to be around such wonderful people.”
Martinsville’s Vice-Mayor Chad Martin said “I’m really thankful for family and friends. I will be thankful when the world no longer must worry about COVID-19. I’m thankful for the volunteers at the Warming Shelter. I think the best thing about our community is that when there is a need, we pull together and make sure that need is addressed. We really are a great community and that is something we should all be thankful for.”
Jim Woods, member of Martinsville City Council said, “I’m thankful to the Almighty for his protection, provision, presence and peace that he brings to my life. I’ve got beautiful children, wonderful friends, and a fantastic family. We have a knowledgeable staff in the city. I’m thankful for the honest reporting that people get to see in the Henry County Enterprise.”
Jennifer Bowles, council member, said, “I’m most thankful for my family and friends. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without their support. I’m also thankful for the individuals who fought for our freedom. I’m thankful for those who continue to fight and stand up for equality and equity for all.”
Danny Turner, council member, said he is “thankful that we were able to come through COVID-19 as well as we did. We were able to still have COVID-safe annual events like Easter Sunday and our Veteran’s Day celebrations. I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully a vaccine.”
Tammy Pearson, council member-elect, said, “I’m most thankful for three things. The first is my Lord and Savior, especially amidst all the craziness caused by the pandemic. I’m thankful for the health and safety of my family and friends. Finally, I’m thankful to the citizens of Martinsville that they have put their trust in me to lead the city moving forward.”
City Manager Leon Towarnicki said he is “always thankful for my family, friends and health. We have a great country with many opportunities and a great community here in Martinsville. The city staff is excellent, and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work every day. Things have been tough this year with the pandemic, but I’m hopeful we get through COVID soon.”
Also, in Henry County:
Michelle Via, director of human resources, said she is “most thankful for the support of my family and coworkers here in the county. Without them, my life would be a whole lot harder and I can’t say enough about them.”
Julie Shelton, administrative assistant, said “everyone in my family has maintained their health throughout the year. That’s what I’m most thankful for.”
Janice Stevenson, who works in the county’s Finance Department, said she is “thankful every day for my husband.”
Gina Shelor, also in the Finance Department, said she is “thankful for my good health and the health of my family.”
“I’m most thankful for my salvation,” said Jordan Oldham, also of the Finance Department.
“I’m thankful for Jesus Christ and my family,” said Zena Smith, of the Finance Department.
Jason Gardner, in Henry County’s Engineering and Mapping Department, said he is “grateful that my family has been able to stay healthy this year.”
“My family, friends, health and freedom of religion,” said Gladys King, of the Engineering and Mapping Department.
“Family, friends, and health,” said Sheila Scott, of the Engineering and Mapping Department.
“I’m thankful for my faith, family and health the most this year,” said Brandon Helms, of the Engineering and Mapping Department.
“Every year I’m thankful for my family and work family. Specifically, this year, I’m thankful for my health,” said Bryan McAlexander, also of the Engineering and Mapping Department.
Debra Wagoner, assistant registrar for the City of Martinsville, said she is extremely grateful that “nobody in my family has been diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Martinsville’s Commissioner of the Revenue, Ruth Easley said she has “an awesome staff and I’m thankful to continue serving the citizens of Martinsville.”
“I’m thankful that 2020 has been one of my best years,” said Karen Roberts, executive assistant to the city manager. “I’m thankful for friends, family and success in both my career and side business. I haven’t missed any time due to the pandemic so overall, it’s been a good year for me.”
Martinsville Sheriff’s Deputy Josanna Bryson said “I’d just like to thank God for my life, health and strength that He gives me every day.”