Thanksgiving has many meanings, each offering a reminder of fortune we enjoy, struggles we overcome, and the abiding hope for the future we all have as citizens and neighbors.
This year, as we prepare for annual rites (turkey and all the trimmings; high school football – Go Fishermen!) and special times with family, I thought it would be fun to share a sampling of the many words of thanks, large and small, that arrive at City Hall every day. Resident Thad Carpen recently checked in with a word of thanks for the city’s support in helping Savour Wine and Cheese and Beach Gourmet reopen this week after having suffered a terrible fire at their business. Ron Beck of Annisquam shared his thankfulness that Gloucester was featured in the Marine Technology Reporter in October. Beck added a special word for Harbor Planning Director Sarah Garcia for continuing to seek maritime business opportunities on the waterfront.
Clean Energy Commission volunteer Linda Brayton thanked Gloucester for its “bold stand on climate change” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, noting that doing so meant “keeping this coastal community as safe as possible.” Linda was on hand for yesterday’s turbine blade signing ceremony at the Gloucester Engineering site.
A long-distance thank you came in from Thomas Hale of State College, Pa. Hale, a Professor Emeritus in Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University who summers in the area, and thanked the city for opening the Harborwalk and ensuring a sharp focus on the arts.
Another far-away missive arrived from the Central Massachusetts’ community of Sutton. Avid scuba diver Stephen Bigelow praised the city, the police department in particular, for welcoming the Metro West Dive Club whenever they dive here (year-round, regardless of the weather!). Stephen Hannabury of Olin College sent yet another note of gratitude because Gloucester has agreed to host the “SailBot Regatta” next year.
Closer to home, David Houlden, executive director of the Gloucester Housing Authority, sent along a note of appreciation for city officials taking time to meet with residents in the communities they oversee such as Poplar, Lincoln, McPherson, Curtis Clark and Sheedy Parks. Tina Ketchopulos, the community coordinator at Addison Gilbert Hospital, shared thanks for public support in making the Gloucester High School Student Health Fair a success.
The largest volume of thanks received at City Hall is directed at public works and public safety staff. Steve Dexter singled out DPW Director Jim Hafey’s team for “once again entertaining the citizens of Gloucester” by repairing the Bell Clock Tower at City Hall “so they can now not only see the time but can enjoy hearing the time as well.”
Connie Orlando thanked DPW workers Richard Pino and Leo Amero for repairing two broken swings at the Fort Square playground so her grandkids could enjoy a day at the park. Ben and Sally D’Antonio sent a shout-out to the Water Department crew who were able to find and fix a nettlesome leak. Yet another resident thanked the DPW for repairing a safety hazard on Hutchins Court.
Poignant notes of thanks also were received by our public safety officials. A resident who had been pulled over on the 128 Extension near Blackburn Circle for speeding thanked the officer in question for responding with professionalism and courtesy.
The most wonderful thank you of all came from a young girl who sent the firefighters of Engine 1 and Ladder 1 a note saying “thank you so much for saving my house and pets!”
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at City Hall.
Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.