Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday, residents

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Lincoln residents have a lot to be thankful for this year. No. 1 is the obvious, being around loving family and friends. And all Lincoln residents are thankful that we survived a potential disaster Aug. 23 and Aug. 24. Many residents and city officials feared that the two-day downtown tanker fire had the potential to turn into a catastrophic BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion). If that had happened, there would have been loss of life, injuries and the destruction of downtown area homes and businesses. But, due to the quick actions taken by the city’s fire and police departments, that catastrophe was thankfully avoided. The News Messenger immediately received many letters to the editor praising the city’s successful efforts to put out the tanker fire before any dire consequences occurred and without suffering fatalities and injuries. Residents also expressed their gratitude during City Council meetings. And at the Nov. 8 City Council meeting, Lincoln Hills Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)chairman Bill Becker gave the Lincoln police and fire departments framed certificates of appreciation. On Nov. 10, Becker’s organization bought dozens of cookies to the fire stations and police department as another heartfelt way to say thanks. “We wanted to speak for CERT and the community that we appreciate their efforts while putting their lives in harm’s way,” Becker said this week. “It was a sustained effort. It was a very heroic effort on their part.” Becker, whose Lincoln Hills organization receives training from Fire Chief Dave Whitt and his firefighters, understands exactly what was at stake Aug. 23 and Aug. 24. I’m grateful too for our public safety department’s efforts. And I’m glad to see that other Lincoln residents feel the same and haven’t forgotten the employees’ immense efforts. The more I observe in Lincoln, the more I see how considerate residents are. Within a couple hours of the Nov. 17 News Messenger being delivered to her home, a woman reading about Gladys and Jim Harshbarger anonymously donated $500 to help them. The front-page story (“Elderly couple loses $330 and needs help) described how the older and ill couple recently went food shopping and lost $330, the majority of it for medication and gas for doctor appointments. Within 24 hours, Umpqua Bank received approximately $1,000 for the fixed-income couple. Hopefully, the donations will keep coming in for the Harshbargers, who have ongoing medical and transportation bills. Fortunately, that’s not the only recent instance of Lincoln residents, many of whom are strangers, helping others. Residents of all ages came together September and October to support the Crystal Shawnee family. The wife and mother of two school-aged children, in her last days before dying from cancer of the appendix, was foremost worried that her family would not enough food and other basic essentials. Crystal hoped that the community would make sure her children’s basic needs were taken care of after she was gone. And the community did that, starting in the weeks preceding Crystal’s death. Residents donated money and needed supplies to the family. Attitudes Salon hosted a haircut-a-thon with friends and other residents pitching in and adding family-fun activities. Glen Edwards Middle School eighth-graders Bella Orteza, Chloe Gretler, Maddi Smith, Sydney Mejia and Samantha Whitworth, classmates of Crystal’s daughter; were touched by what the Shawnees were going through. The five students stood outside Target and collected $577 in donations for the family. Pat Lay, who was like a mother to Crystal, said the entire family was grateful to the community. “It was an overwhelming abundance of community love and compassion. Without the community, we wouldn’t have been able to give the family or Crystal all the care they needed,” Lay said. “The community support alone was wonderful. Melissa Usher (Crystal’s sister) and I thank everyone for all the help they’ve given us. And now we’re having time to calm our lives and grieve over someone who was an angel in our hearts.” I recently had dinner with The News Messenger’s Scene to be Seen columnist Kathy Dorsey and Lincoln estate-planning attorney and community volunteer Therese Adams. Conversation turned to why they love living in Lincoln. The reason, Kathy and Therese agreed, is because of the connections (or good friends) they have made in Lincoln. They’re 100-percent right. Happy Thanksgiving, Lincoln residents. Today is the perfect time to recognize that it’s all of you who make the city a nice place to call home.