NORTH COUNTY — There is so much to be thankful for this holiday season and local residents took a moment to reflect on reasons they are thankful for community, family and friends.
According to Pastor Ryan Willson of the Tonasket Free Methodist Church, this season makes it easy to be pulled in many different directions, becoming worried or fearful.
“The season of Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas offers us a chance to slow down, reflect and be thankful for what God has provided for us to enjoy. All of it is a gift,” said Willson.
“During this season I am thankful to live in a community surrounded by many people in our town who work without much appreciation on a daily basis. Teachers, police, the fire department, nurses and doctors. All of these people work long hours to ensure our safety, to see that our children are educated and to keep us healthy. Imagine a town without these who serve so selflessly. Thank you,” said Willson.
“I am thankful for the beautiful area in which we live. Lakes, rivers and mountains tell of the glory of God that is all around. Yes, sometimes it’s too hot and sometimes it’s way too cold but I continue to be amazed at the beauty that is all around me,” said Willson.
Tonasket Councilwoman Jill Ritter said she is thankful for family and good friends who support and believe in her, especially during difficult times.
“This year, for me, was a testament to who my good friends really are. I am thankful for those that stood beside me and believed in me,” said Ritter.
“One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was in November of 1996 during an ice storm in Spokane and surrounding area. My parents’ home was affected by the horrible storm that left many without power for weeks. My family was not detoured from tradition by not having power. We all gathered at my parent’s house and managed to cook an awesome meal without power, thanks to a propane grill and pre-planning. We visited and played games by candlelight without the interruption of TV and football and just really enjoyed each other’s company. Best Thanksgiving ever,” said Ritter.
Tonasket Councilwoman Marylou Kriner was quick to chime in on the gratitude she feels for community.
“I am so thankful living in Tonasket and what a great little community we have. I am also very proud to be working in the community, with all the groups and some very special people. My heart is in the right place sitting on City Council,” said Kriner.
The ladies at Tonasket City Hall said there is so much to be grateful for this time of year.
“I am thankful that my two boys have such wonderful teachers, coaches and that they are getting good grades. I am also thankful to have such a wonderful husband and that our whole family is healthy,” said Joël Pilkinton.
Deniece Miller said she is thankful for all of the citizens that come in with a smile and make her day.
“I am thankful for my family, friends, coworkers and the community of Tonasket,” said City Clerk, Alice Attwood.
Right around the corner at Tonasket’s Public Library there is more gratitude and appreciation for the community to be found.
“I live in Oroville and I am so thankful for the Oroville Police Department. I am also thankful for the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department and all of the deputies that serve our community,” said Dan Walsh, Oroville.
“I am thankful for the Community Cultural Center. I love the Thai food, dance, and all of the activities they offer,” said Hannah Calhoon, Tonasket.
Thanksgiving is a time for traditions, memories and stories to tell for years to come.
“A fellow that I had known from childhood referred to me as his “little sister” and he and his wife were close friends of Herb and I. For several years I had invited them to join our family for all the major holiday dinners. One year he told me that I was not to plan Thanksgiving Dinner because we were invited to their home. I was delighted to think I could sit back and relax. Thanksgiving Day we arrived at their home to find his wife sitting on the couch looking completely lost and “big brother” in the kitchen completely flustered and lost. So, guess who put together Thanksgiving Dinner after all,” said Bertha Wandler, Tonasket.
“One time my thanksgiving table centerpiece caught on fire. I’m thankful for family from age 2 to 97. I have always been surrounded by extended family that loves me. I just visited my great aunt who is 97, it was rich with family history, a shared love of Jesus, his love and unconditional family love,” said Kristi Hutchins, Tonasket.
“I am thankful for my children and the family that I have who surround me with love. I couldn’t ask for more or be happier,” said Kelli Vanetta, Tonasket.
“I give thanks for Glenda teaching her art through glass mosaic which has brought friendship and great art to Oroville.” Shara Cunningham – Oroville
Heather McDaniel of Tonasket said she is thankful for her baby that is on the way, her new house and the tradition of Friendsgiving.
“I am thankful for the community of Tonasket that has given us a shot and for being so supportive. I am thankful for the new people that I’ve met through All Perked Up,” said Angie Bolich, Tonasket.
“I’m thankful for family, friends and sunshine.” Crystal Hanley-Osoyoos
“I will always remember the thanksgiving that my cousin Sam was born. We were visiting my grandparents in St. Helens. My aunt and uncle were unable to have children and were preparing to adopt their first child. He arrived on Nov. 25, a couple days before Thanksgiving day. I am so thankful that his biological mom decided to gift him to our family,” said Janessa Mitchell, Tonasket.
“I am grateful for living in a country that is free, having family to love and a good God to serve. I am blessed,” said Pat Verbeck, Tonasket.
“I am thankful for art (Paints & Pints with Linda and more) in small communities and the businesses that support it. And as a small business owner, I am thankful for all our wonderful customers.” said Dusti Giroux, Oroville.
“This year I’m thankful to have my parents back in Tonasket. I remember one year growing up we all got sick a few days before Thanksgiving and we forgot to thaw the turkey. When we realized it was too late to cook it for thanksgiving we made a bunch of Asian food instead and saved the turkey for Christmas. Traditions are fun but it was also really fun to switch it up. I can’t express how grateful I am that my kids will have all four of their grandparents nearby as they grow up,” said Charity McCormick.
“For making new friends, fishing with my dog, my guy, four seasons and smiles!” Julie Menard, Tonasket
“I am thankful for my job and the people I have met during my short time here. I am also thankful for my shelter dogs from NO Paws that allow me to take care of them. I’m also thankful for my boyfriend and I, that we are happy, healthy and prosperous.” said Jessica Ward – Tonasket
“Everything that has ever happened and everything that will happen! We are hoping for the best and are optimistic!” said Dennis and Nancy Peterson, Oroville
“I am thankful for the gifts the Lord has given me and the people He has brought into my life.” said Linda Thiele, Republic
“I am thankful for every single day!” said Gillian Houlihan, Oroville
Happy Thanksgiving from The Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune. We would like to express our gratitude to you, our readers for investing your time and money with us and trusting us to bring you the local news.