In a time of pressure and pain, giving thanks has never felt more important.
This time of the year, giving thanks and recognition to friends and family, coworkers and businesses, teachers and students is a sort of tradition. But now more than ever, sharing your gratuity with the people, places and things you’re grateful for means everything. Here are just a few things that our Woodbury community members are feeling grateful for.
“As the newest president of Woodbury Days, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to this awesome community by volunteering my time to pull together an event that is held so dear to many Woodburians’ hearts! And since I was unable to follow through with that in 2020, I will be grateful for the chance to hold our event in 2021. It will be fabulous to see so many faces from our community come together again!” —Amy Lombardi, Woodbury Days council president
“I am grateful for incredible teachers whose commitment to children, excellent problem solving and strong sense of team energize me daily. I am blessed with a boss who shows me that I am not alone, guides me toward prayer and challenges me to listen and lead with confidence. I am married to the most gentle and kind man, who cheers me on every day. Courage is a necessary virtue during this pandemic, but the power of gratitude gives me grace daily.” —Betsy Osterhause Hand, principal of Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School
“The fact that I’m leaving for college next year has made me realize just how grateful I am for my family. Next year, I’ll really miss my dad’s way of making any joke bad. I’ll miss my mom’s hugs and having her right there to support me. I’ll miss my sister Elizabeth blaming everything on her stuffed animal and my sister Anne always making me laugh. I am thankful for each member of my family for a million reasons, and I can’t wait to spend this and every upcoming Thanksgiving with them (stuffing our faces and playing cards, as usual).” —Allison B., 12th grade student at East Ridge High School
“I am grateful for those who everyday address food insecurity, homelessness, domestic violence, racial inequality, mental illness and other challenges experienced by the underprivileged in Woodbury. I feel blessed to live here where we have excellent schools, high quality and abundant health care, wonderful parks and trails and a forward-thinking city government. But I realize that not everyone in Woodbury enjoys all these benefits to the degree that I have; disparities exist. We are fortunate to have strong nonprofit, civic and governmental organizations who reach out to the underprivileged … We have never been more aware of the critical role they play than during the pandemic and the focus on racial inequality in response to the George Floyd case. These are our hometown heroes! They deserve our thanks one and all.” —Roger Green, Woodbury Citizen of the Year
“I am grateful to live near the Tamarack Nature Preserve and be able to physically access it—meandering through the woods and on the boardwalks that cross the wetlands, along with my dog. I take time to notice and cherish the calming beauty and intense power of nature. Sometimes, we’ll just sit quietly and purposefully do nothing … When the weather turns colder and darker, I will be grateful to have created new pathways to stay connected virtually … I’ll also be glad for having slowed the pace, so that reading a book for enjoyment or knitting with a good movie feels natural and fulfilling.” —Dana B., Woodbury resident
“I am grateful to be here and to be working with amazing people. I always thought that I’m grateful for the people around me, the management and the residents, and I always say that they make me who I am. They always support me, they pushed me to go back to school … I’m grateful for everything, and grateful to be here.” —Sunshine, nurse aide at Woodbury Villa
“I’m grateful for loyal customers. The last six months of operating a small business has felt like a rollercoaster ride. Our store, Pet Evolution, had to face some tough choices … We had to innovate new ways to keep our business open … Through it all, our regular customers have helped carry us. Woodbury is a community that sees the value in locally owned small business and what we can bring to the local economy. Pet evolution would not have made it this far without the community’s support.” —Rian Thiele, owner of Pet Evolution
“It’s easy to get caught up in the things that are difficult or uncertain in our world right now. Something I am very grateful for is a habit that we’ve establish at bedtime with our kids. As we settle into the quiet moments before turning out the lights, we take turns sharing what we are thankful for from that day. It really puts things into perspective when you hear the things that your kids are thankful for—having a comfy bed to sleep in, getting to enjoy dinner together as a family, that they got a new toothbrush. You learn to give thanks for even the tiniest wins and not take things [or] people for granted.” —Laurie Mordorski, Woodbury Lakes marketing manager
“There are a million things that I’m grateful for. I’ve been able to talk with my children and grandchildren as often as we all wish to, because of phones [and] FaceTime. It has allowed me to be so connected. I smile a lot, and it’s contagious to others and keeps me in a great mood. I reach out to folks and chat with friends—I’m grateful for my friends. We gather around in small groups and just chat, talk and laugh. We help one another just by being present. What I’ve done for years and years is be faithful to my devotions every day as well … I find my whole world just reset by being faithful and keep to my devotions.” —Anne Brose, Woodbury resident
“[I] brought together a group of six fellow choir students that reached out to 15 assisted care facilities and the Children’s Hospitals in both Minneapolis and St. Paul … [We sent] weekly singing videos and uplifting messages. [We] know the residents and patients are both at a higher health risk during the Coronavirus pandemic and are isolated from loved ones. The goal is to brighten their days through song … The members are [myself], Allison Benjamin, Baylee Stevenson, Erik Hearing, Lauren Nelson and Victoria Pommalath. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach so many older folks in Woodbury for [more than] 20 weeks. And I’m grateful that the elders and their families are so receptive for hear from us, the younger ‘seniors.’” —Adam Garrity, 12th grade student at East Ridge High School