By Walter GeigerThanksgiving is upon us and we have so very much to be thankful for. All you have to do is follow the news cycle for 24 hours and you will realize we have it pretty good.It is highly unlikely, for example, that we will be beheaded because of our faith. Freedom of religion is alive and well in the United States of America but, sadly, many do not avail themselves of it. They remain faithless at a time when faith is so sorely needed.God’s love and forgiveness should be atop our lists of blessings for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving and every day of our lives. We should also be thankful that ours is a country where a person can start with nothing and, through hard work, make something of him or herself. As with faith, many do not avail themselves of this opportunity but a very high percentage of those who do succeed. The transformation will involve blood, sweat and tears but it will be worth it.Those of us who call Lamar and Pike counties home are geographically blessed. We are close enough to the big city to enjoy it when we feel like braving the traffic and hassle yet we are far enough away so as to be insulated from the hectic pace, crime and noise.We know our neighbors and they know us. We look out for one another. Our lives are interwoven through church, school, youth sports teams and all manner of ties that bind.Never was that more apparent to me than Sunday when a rainy, sleepy afternoon was rent by the wail of tornado sirens and cell phone storm alerts. Two tornadoes formed quickly. One hit near the Thomaston airport at The Rock, destroying homes and offices.The storms mostly stayed aloft in our areas but high winds took out trees and power lines, blocking roads and driveways.As I rode about chronicling the damage, I was struck by how people pitched in.In one area where services at a large church were over, a lone woman stood drenched in the middle of an intersection directing traffic as best she could. Several sheriff’s deputies left their warm, dry homes and families in their own personal pickup trucks and used their chainsaws to clear trees from roads and driveways. No one asked them to do it. They just saw the need and went to work.When the storm had passed, neighbors were out helping neighbors. Linemen hit the road to restore power where it was out. In short, people gave of themselves to help others in their time of need.The Rotary creed is ‘˜Service above self’. That is how the vast majority of our friends and neighbors live their lives. They are there when we need them.For that, we should be very, very thankful.Those of us here at The Herald Gazette are thankful for you and your readership. It means the world to us.Happy Thanksgiving! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.
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