Happy Turkey Day! Area Folks Give Thanks on Thanksgiving


Contributing Writer
Robert Houston

The staff of the Jamestown Gazette wishes everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. For most of us, the day will be spent with family and friends, enjoying a sumptuous meal, good conversation, some television, a snooze, and then another, lighter meal of leftovers.

But for some, the day will be just one more struggle to get through another twenty-four hours. They may be hungry, cold, sick, lonely. They may be huddled close to an open fire under a bridge, or lying in a hospital bed attached to so many tubes they can barely been seen. Whatever their situation, there are too many of our fellow men and women who have little or nothing to be thankful about on this Thanksgiving Day.

We are not trying to darken anyone’s day by reminding them of difficulties and tragedies with which they may already be too familiar. But we do want to remind everyone who is reading this to consider those things in their lives they may be taking for granted — a warm home, a loving family, enough food, reasonably good health, maybe even a job they actually enjoy. In other words, most of us have many things in our lives for which to be truly grateful.

Thanksgiving is also a day we can share our gratitude with others. To that end, we have asked a few of our local folks to tell us what they are thankful for.

Stacey Hannon, owner and publisher of the Jamestown Gazette, said, “In this time of Thanksgiving, I must express my thanks to our staff, our advertisers, and our readership. It is comforting to have such amazing people surrounding us. I truly understand the value of our team. My pride and joy are my supportive husband, Mark, and our three children and their spouses; we are blessed with nine adorable grandchildren. The Hannon family wishes you, our faithful readers, a joyful and peaceful holiday season.”

Todd Tranum, President of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, said he is thankful to live in “a great Democracy and to have the opportunity to live in this beautiful region of our country.”

Guy DiTonto, Director of Marketing Services for the Chamber, said he is grateful for good health, but is most thankful for his grandchildren.

“They are the light of our lives,” DiTonto said.

James R. Rensel, Mayor of “The Friendly Village of Falconer,” said he is “thankful that my two brothers and I were raised by two loving parents who exemplified love, work, discipline, spirituality, respect, understanding, guidance, responsibility, kindness to others, and resilience. All these modeled character attributes have served us well, along with some luck, in our lives.  We have benefited by marrying spouses that are smarter than us and we are now busy trying to parent our children in the same way.”

“I’m one lucky guy. I have no complaints about anything,” said Randy Anderson, President of the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame. Anderson said he is thankful “for my life in general. I am grateful for my family and friends and the opportunity to do what I like to do. I feel thankful every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving Day, for all the blessings God has given me — blessing after blessing.”

Bryan Dahlberg, mayor of Bemus Point, said he is “very very grateful for my family, of course. I’m also very appreciative of the whole Bemus Point community, and for all those good people who came here and spent their summer with us. And I’m thankful for our Village Board and our Trustees who help me keep things floating.”

Keith Martin, Executive Director of the Northwest Arena, said he is “very thankful for my family and our good health. I’m also grateful for the community support I’ve gotten coming into this wonderful team of employees. Our board members and our staff have made this Arena a jewel of our community. I’m proud to be the newest member of our team.”

When Walt Pickut, contributing editor of the Jamestown Gazette, was asked what he was thankful for, he said, “At the moment, I’m amazed at how hard it is to boil it all down to a couple of sentences. I guess that’s a kind of answer in itself. Much of what I’m thankful for is things I can’t take credit for myself, the godsend of good and generous people who make my life so rich.”

Sandy Thies, senior library clerk at Falconer Public Library, said, “I’m thankful for my new position at the library. And I’m very thankful for my children, of course, and for my Girl’s Night Out group.”

Two library assistants working the checkout desk at the James Prendergast Library shared their Thanksgiving thoughts.

Lynn Blasdel said she is most thankful for “family, friends, health, and my job.”

Nancy Kavanaugh expressed her gratitude “for the presence of God in my life, for my life companion, for a good place to live, and for my job.”

Bessie Kibbe, a lifelong resident of Falconer, turned 100 years old last May. She said she is thankful “for what health I still have, and that I’m able to get around. I’m also thankful for my family, and for all the changes I’ve been able to see over the past century — cars, airplanes, all this modern equipment I don’t know a thing about.”

Don Everett of Randolph, a retired truck driver for the former Agway company, said, “I’m thankful I don’t have to drive truck anymore.” At that, he laughed, then said, “But what I’m really most thankful for is that we have a God who loves us and who understands us.”