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Giving thanks

Thanksgiving serves as a simple reminder to all of us to pause and count our many blessings, much in the same way the very first observance was held in 1621 where the Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest.

That annual observance – which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November – brings on a whole new meaning for 2020.

While we still need to give thanks for all that we, as individuals, have accomplished personally – to salute the goals we reached – there are others who deserve our gratitude for standing bravely in harm’s way to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

We thank the brave Bertie County emergency responders who cautiously inched their way through a maze of downed trees and power lines in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 to rescue dozens of victims trapped in the debris of an EF3 tornado.

In the aftermath of that deadly storm, Bertie citizens, joined by others in the Roanoke-Chowan area as well as total strangers from other areas of North Carolina and the United States, need to be thanked for sending clothing, shoes, housewares, and other vital items to help the tornado victims get back on their feet.

We thank those who donated thousands of dollars that poured into an emergency fund created by the Bertie County Commissioners in the weeks following the storm. That money directly benefited the storm victims in meeting immediate needs.

And then there are those on the front lines of the continuing battle to defeat COVID-19 that deserve our utmost gratitude. Never before have we witnessed so many who have risen to the occasion in the face of all of the difficulties and heartbreak that COVID-19 has wrought.

We are extremely grateful to the first responders (police, fire & rescue) and health care workers for their tireless efforts to protect and care for our communities in the face of uncertain and often dangerous circumstances.

We offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the teachers and educators for their dedication and their ability to adapt to unusual learning environments. We are also grateful to parents who found themselves thrust into home schooling situations…many trying to remember the basics of math, English and science.

Then there are the local business owners who were able to quickly think outside the box to create ways to keep their doors open in a time of greet need. They quickly adapted to a new business model and were able to continue to serve their customers thanks to a mixture of in-store, curbside, home delivery, and online options.

We share our thanks to the cooks and wait staff at our local restaurants, as well as the checkout clerks, deli/produce/meat managers and staff, and stock persons at our local grocery stores. They kept their doors open and fought through sudden shifts in inventory, staffing, and pricing to make sure we can still fill our stomachs.

And we need to thank our local churches and their leaders for finding ways to deliver the Word of God during the time where their doors were shut. Our hearts have been filled and our strength renewed to move forward in our quest to survive and overcome this pandemic.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald  

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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