Thanksgiving blessings: Officials, community leaders thankful for many things
by Joshua Sharpe
November 27, 2013 11:45 PM | 1611 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
County Commissioner Ray Gunnin spent 34 years with the Cherokee Fire Department before his retirement in 2011. ‘I’m thankful for the county giving me a job,’ said Gunnin. ‘It’s about 34 years now. I’m thankful for that. That’s kept my family fed all these years.’ <br>Staff/Todd Hull
County Commissioner Ray Gunnin spent 34 years with the Cherokee Fire Department before his retirement in 2011. ‘I’m thankful for the county giving me a job,’ said Gunnin. ‘It’s about 34 years now. I’m thankful for that. That’s kept my family fed all these years.’
Staff/Todd Hull
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As the turkey, stuffing and candied yams make their appearance on dinner tables and the giblet gravy is passed by those gathering to give thanks around Cherokee County, officials and community leaders alike say they have many blessings to give thanks for today.

For Waleska Mayor Doris Jones, the list of blessings to count on Thanksgiving is long and full.

“Oh my goodness, I have so many things to be thankful for it’s hard to know where to begin,” Jones said. “I’m thankful for the city of Waleska and how we continue to grow. I’m very thankful for the people in Waleska and what they mean to me and our city.”

Jones’ list of things to be thankful for also includes Reinhardt University, her family and friends, and even things as small as the fact that Waleska now has curbside recycling pick-up.

“I’m just thankful to live in a city like Waleska,” the mayor said.

After more than three decades of working for Cherokee County, Commissioner Ray Gunnin said he too is thankful for his community.

“I’m thankful for the county giving me a job,” said Gunnin, who was formerly the county fire chief. “It’s about 34 years now. I’m thankful for that. That’s kept my family fed all these years.”

Besides his longtime employment with Cherokee County, Gunnin said he’s also grateful for the simple things in life.

“(I’m thankful for) my family, friends, just the life God’s given me,” he said. “I’m thankful for my savior and the grace of God through him.”

Etowah High Principal Keith Ball said he too has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

“I’m first of all thankful for my family,” Ball said.

With the week off from school, Ball said he has gone up to New York to celebrate the day with his family, which mostly lives there.

“For the first time in a long time, my whole family will be together,” Ball said.

The principal also feels grateful to be at Etowah High, or as he called it, “one the best high schools in the state, if not in the country.”

Sonia Carruthers, CEO and executive director of Cherokee FOCUS, also has a family and career to be thankful for.

“It is just a blessings to go to work every day,” Carruthers said of her work at FOCUS, a nonprofit community outreach program that benefits children and families in Cherokee County.

Carruthers said part of what makes her job such a blessing is the people she comes across and how willing they are to help those less fortunate.

“I meet so many people from Cherokee County who are wanting to help others,” she said. “It’s just great. I am so thankful for my job.”

Working with good-hearted people in Cherokee County is something Deidre Hollands, Cherokee CASA for Children executive director, also counts as a blessing.

“(I’m) so thankful that I get to go to work every day and serve my community alongside other amazing community members who share my concern for children,” Hollands said.

Hollands said she is also grateful for the firm roots her family has in Cherokee County.

“I am even more thankful that we still enjoy each other’s company during the holidays,” she joked.

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