This picture was taken when this magazine began four years ago, so I thought it was fitting to lead off this letter of Thanksgiving. Recently, on July 28th, I woke up just like any other morning to care for my Dad, but as I touched his cheek, I realized he was gone from this earth. Thankful for this community is what this issue is about, and it is my state of being for being blessed with such a wonderful father. Thanksgiving Day has always been our favorite holiday as it was about family and fellowship and, of course, great food. This will be my first Thanksgiving without my hero, James William Darden, Command Sergeant Major, Retired, United States Army, and I will spend the day thanking God for the great memories and the times we shared.

During his memorial service I was honored to share what he stood for. Consistent and stable, a rock of safety, selfless and giving, and it was always God, family, country, duty, honor, and service before himself. My loss is not unique, and my prayer is for a peace that surpasses all understanding for each of you who have experienced loss. I shared the following verse at his service with his name in place of “Love,” and my goal is to live each day this way; if we all live each day this way, our community will be blessed beyond our ability to imagine. Please read it and put your name in place of my Dad’s.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jim is patient and kind. Jim is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Jim does not demand his own way. He is not irritable, and he keeps no record of being wronged. He does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Jim never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

In this issue we will celebrate great businesses in our community, a local hero, food and fellowship, why it is important to LIVE LOCAL, celebrations and announcements, and of course our wonderful advertising partners that make giving back to our community possible. We strive to be the place where community exists please let us know how we can serve you even better.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!