Anyone notice I didn’t write a Thanksgiving column last week?
Here goes one. Better late than never, right?
I’m glad I waited. Because a few more people crossed my mind (and my desk) who deserve inclusion in this little ditty. I’m talking about a few people in our community who deserve a nice pat on the back, not just from me, but from all of us. These are some of the people who make Pahrump a great community. People who have love in their hearts, who look adversity in the eye and don’t blink, people in our town who we can all be proud to call our neighbors and friends.
Young and old, man and woman, these people represent some of the best this community offers — hope, a helping hand, a warm smile, a kind word, are the least of it.
I’m thankful for these folks. Here goes:
Karen Jackson, KNYE Radio’s owner, Wulfenstein Construction’s Don Stout, Commissioner Gary Hollis, Symphony Animal Shelter’s Laraine Harper and everyone who helped to pay for and deliver the community Christmas tree this week, BRAVO. What a great contribution to the health and spiritual well-being of the community. Mere words on paper can’t express the gratitude that we all feel for such a heartfelt gift as this. This is the second year that Jackson and her supporters have made a community Christmas tree possible. The staff at the Pahrump Valley Times encourages everyone who loves this community to participate in the lighting ceremony on Saturday at 6 p.m. Bring your kids as early as 10 a.m. that morning to help decorate the 30-foot symbol of unity.
Next, there’s too many to name, but anyone who donated food or their time serving dinner at the various Thanksgiving affairs around town last week deserves a hearty slap on the back. The people at NyE Communities Coalition did an outstanding job serving dinner on Thanksgiving. The amount of preparation and perspiration that goes into making something like this work is unbelievable and yet these guys almost made it look effortless. Outstanding job!
The volunteers at the senior center, too. What a great way to spread the spirit of the holidays than to serve your neighbors in such a warm way. Thank you so much.
Thanks to all of the businesses and business owners who contributed time and money and food to these fine functions. Many of you open up your wallets and wish to remain anonymous or blush at the appreciation. Please know that you are deeply appreciated. Without your kindness, so many would go without or go with less this holiday season. Thank you.
Beyond the holidays, the newspaper has printed a few stories recently about some really outstanding young people. I think it’s important to acknowledge them here, too, because young people really are important to the life of any community. When they grow and succeed, we all succeed with them.
Reporter Kelsey Givens wrote a story that came out last Friday about a young woman named Kayla Ball. Ball works as an assistant in the DA’s office. Not too long ago, she was among a startling number of young people who essentially live on their own, homeless or nearly so, right under our noses. Ball, whose story is truly heart-wrenching in many ways, is among the luckier young people. She was able to reach out, get help for herself, get out of school with a great GPA, land a job and get a hand up instead of a hand out. But so many coming up like her aren’t so lucky. It’s truly frightening. All of us should be on alert, but I am especially grateful to the people at the Nye County School District who are these kids’ frontline defense. In particular, I thank Linda Fitzgibbons, the district’s homeless and children in transition liaison, and those who work with her, like Jen Shockley, Pahrump Valley High School’s registrar, and Kaylee Harker, a youth case manager with NyECC, who all helped Ball escape her situation. All of Pahrump should be thankful we have these people working alongside us in this community. It’s important work.
Especially, I want to thank Kayla for being brave enough not just to seek help when she needed it but letting us put her story out there. You never know who might read about your strength only to discover their own.
Two other young people of distinction that deserve our thanks are Pahrump Valley High seniors Angelica McNerny and Amanda Head. These two young ladies interviewed with members of Nevada’s congressional delegation recently, seeking nominations to a service academy when they graduate next year. Sports writer Vern Hee wrote that it’s been a decade since anyone from Pahrump has even gone to a service academy. Well, I graduated high school with three people who went off to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. It was unprecedented that three people from the same high school not only got nominated but got accepted. I am friends with all three and they have all had great military careers and continue to be a blessing to their communities. Not only do I say, “you go girls,” to Head and McNerny, I say I’m going to be putting in some phone calls, emails and letters to my Nevada congressional delegation encouraging them to nominate these two young ladies. I encourage all you readers to do the same and if you need the contact information, call me at the paper, 727-5102. It’s about time we sent some Pahrump Valley High graduates up to Annapolis or over to Colorado Springs.
Of course, these are just a few of the great people in our community who continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of their neighbors, their families, or in their own lives. I wish we could thank all of you out there who daily make a positive difference. Even if we can’t say it, know that we are all thankful for you this holiday season.