In year of turmoil, people most thankful for family

In times of mass shootings, rampant sexual harassment claims and divisive politics, local residents are turning to their families for comfort this Thanksgiving.

We asked people a simple question — “What are you thankful for this year?” — and it provoked a range of complex and emotional answers. Family, or being reunited with family, was the most frequent response, but others spoke of feeling inspired by the #metoo campaign regarding sexual harassment or expressed their love for God or their community.

“There’s a lot of heartache this year in my family,” Miranda Hurt of Dayton, “so it’s nice to actually get back together, praying together and actually sit at a table for once.”

» Black Friday 2017: When do stores open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday?
» Thanksgiving 2017: Best ways to show gratitude
» Which restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day 2017?

And, even if they won’t all be together, family was still what Javan Richardson of Xenia answered.

“I’m grateful for my family. I will be working this Thanksgiving, so I won’t be with them, you know, but (they) keep me drivin’, keep me motivated, keep me going,” Richardson said, “so I’m grateful to have them in my life.”

Dexter Crawford of Dayton had three things he was thankful for.

“My health. My family. Just opportunities that are out there for people,” Crawford said. “You know, people complain about the economy, but it’s never been as good as it has been in my lifetime. There’s no reason for anybody to have their head down.”

Willow Lopez, a Lima resident who is a University of Dayton political science student, said, “This year with all of the issues going on in politics … it really means a lot to me when I see people standing up for other people. This year I’m really thankful for all the people who have come out during the #metoo movement.

“I have personally been a victim of sexual assault, and it has affected me a lot in my everyday life. It’s awesome seeing this huge community and people inspiring me to stand up for myself and my rights.”

Xenia’s Tim Young offered a spiritual answer.

“I am grateful that I have a loving God that loved me so much that he sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for my sins. And I am thankful for a country where I can believe according to my conscience,” Young said.

India Norman of Dayton said family and friends have supported her through tough times.

“I’ve had a lot go on the last few weeks, so I definitely would just say family, friends, people who are there for you … I have a huge support system that’s really good to me. They definitely gave me a shoulder to cry on and lean on, so I appreciate it,” Norman said.

Lane Dykman of Xenia said, “the list is long.”

“I’m thankful for a good and healthy family,” including his wife and five children, Dykman said. “That’s what I’m thankful for, among other things … I’m working for a good company… Good in-laws. Good health.”

Kateland Heard of Dayton was thankful for her unborn son.

“I’m grateful for my family, and I’m grateful for my son. His arrival,” she said. “Just how everything is and how God has blessed us so much.”

Joshua Shiverdecker of Dayton focused on his 2-year-old daughter.

“She was taken in by a good family. I wasn’t able to support her. Yeah, she was adopted into a great family. I got really lucky,” Shiverdecker said. “(And) my family. Music has been a huge part of my life, and it’s because of my parents. I’m highly grateful. Music brings us all in tune.”

Dorothee Bouquet of Yellow Springs said: “I’m grateful for having a healthy second child that came in July. And I’m grateful for having met my tribe … I’ve been responding to the new political climate, and I’m thankful that I learned so much from them this year.”

Vernon Fernandes, a trustee on the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance board, looked toward his Dayton community for what he was thankful for.

“Several things actually. Downtown Dayton has a new library, which I think is awesome. The performing arts have always been my favorite … I am a trustee. I am on the board so I’m a little biased perhaps, but it’s truly one of the great treasures in Dayton,” Fernandes said, adding Five Rivers MetroParks to his list.

“The place continues to blossom and become more beautiful every year. Pretty much loving Dayton and a lot to be thankful for here,” he said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Xenia police, US Marshals arrest suspect who evades manhunt this month
Xenia police, US Marshals arrest suspect who evades manhunt this month

A 33-year-old Xenia man who evaded capture, which led to a manhunt in Xenia, was taken into custody by Xenia police and the U.S.  Marshals. Charles E. Dameron was arrested Wednesday night without incident, Xenia police Capt. Alonzo Wilson stated tonight in a news release. Charles will be facing additional charges as a result of this arrest, Wilson...
Hippo Kiss: Fiona’s smooch on canvas can be yours
Hippo Kiss: Fiona’s smooch on canvas can be yours

In celebration of the first birthday of Fiona — the premature hippopotamus who beat the odds and captured hearts around the globe — fans will get a chance to win a one-of-a-kind “Hippo Kiss” painting, and become an official Fiona parent. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is marking Fiona’s first birthday with a special...
Greater Dayton RTA buses could be rid of cash fares by 2020
Greater Dayton RTA buses could be rid of cash fares by 2020

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority hopes to modernize its payment system and get rid of cash fares by 2020, officials said Wednesday. More than half of RTA riders have migrated to passes, including monthly and weekly passes, said Mark Donaghy, CEO of the agency.  The agency will work to become the first major transit authority in the...
Pastor: Community ‘in shock’ after news about Good Samaritan closing
Pastor: Community ‘in shock’ after news about Good Samaritan closing

Hours after Good Samaritan Hospital officials announced Wednesday that the facility will close later this year, reaction about the community impact has been wide ranging. "It's devastating news, I was shocked" said Daryl Ward, pastor of Omega Baptist Church in Dayton.  His church is just down the street from Good Samaritan Hospital,...
2 males sought in Kettering home invasion robbery
2 males sought in Kettering home invasion robbery

Police are continuing to look for two males who committed a home invasion robbery on Hazel Avenue.  Investigators don't know what led the invaders to pick the home they did Wednesday afternoon, Kettering Police Patrolman John Jung said.  According to the preliminary investigation, the two males forced their way inside just before 4 p.m.,...
More Stories