Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, family and football. Today’s Thanksgiving celebrations, while likely unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, have stood the test of time and continue to be a day to gather around the table and celebrate the things that bring us together – health, love, friendship.
As we enjoy Thanksgiving 2023, let’s give thanks for hope for the future and blessings from our past.
This year here at the Progress we are thankful for many things that we came across in our reporting, including….
• Local citizens willing to throw their hat in the ring for the Jasper City Council and mayoral races. We’re thankful so many faces – both new and old – put their name on the ballot. A democracy is only a democracy when people are willing to get involved in politics on a local level and run for a seat.
• Firefighters – both paid and the volunteers. We’re grateful to firefighters like the ones at Bethany-Salem Fire Department who this year worked on “low angle rescue training” to be able to better aid people in car accidents.
Firefighters like them go above and beyond to be prepared for their duties.
• A local hospital with caring doctors and nurses and a wonderful facility. Piedmont Mountainside this year announced a $13.6 million dollar, 11,000 square foot expansion that will increase its total bed number and expand intensive care and medical surgical capacity. When you travel to some of the isolated areas in the southern part of this state, you realize just how essential having a fine hospital is for a community.
• A newly-renovated library that added 8,200 sq. ft. to its footprint and now boasts a total of 19,000 square feet. The facility has meeting rooms, six small conference rooms, a large youth area and a separate teen area, a laptop bar and large computer area, space for loads of books and technology, more seating for study and reading, and a self-checkout kiosk.
• The 2023 Pickens County Schools Teacher of the Year Joe Morgan and all the other over 300 teachers like him in our local system. Teachers go to school every day to educate our children and always strive for a positive learning environment.
• Vibrant downtown cultural events. From PACA’s ArtWalk that showcases beautiful and interesting forms of art to music events like Downtown Live. Thanks for bringing people together for free local events.
• Utility crews with Georgia Power, Amicalola EMC and Pickens County Government and the City of Jasper who spent countless hours restoring power and water to homes and cleaning up our roads in July following a storm that brought two tornadoes to the east side of our county. The storm caused widespread downed trees and power lines and damage to numerous structures. It’s no small feat to get roads cleared and power lines back up to homes quickly and we thank those men and women who were called to action following the storm.
• Tater Patch Players who put on local community shows with flavor throughout the year. It takes a lot of volunteers to design, paint, and perform in all these shows.
• The $1.1 million grant the local sheriff’s department received to purchase new body and car cameras.
• Thanks to the vendors at Jasper Farmers Market who provide us with fresh produce from local farmers.
• Veterans – Pickens is blessed to have so many fine service members living here.
• To Good Samaritan Center volunteers who provide healthcare to thousands of people in our community at poverty level. Thanks to the doctors, dentists, janitors, and pharmacists that all volunteer to make sure nobody goes without medical care in Pickens County.
• Holy Family Episcopal Church’s Serve Pickens Neighbors Helping Neighbors. This year saw 150 volunteers and numerous sponsors in the annual day of service event.
• Thanks too to all the businesses in our community who provide local citizens with good, sustainable jobs.
• Thanks too to all the local folks who donate to the Holy Spirit Ranch/ Progress’ annual Winter Coat Drive.
• Finally thanks to all the readers and advertisers who support community journalism.