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Thanksgiving Message From the Sheriff

Throughout our community and across the country, families will soon enjoy a pause - a much needed pause - during our annual tradition of giving thanks.  This year however, maybe more-so than in year's past, it may be easier to focus on things we aren't thankful for.  As I've spoken with people over the past few weeks, there has been a recurring undertone and it's clear there are a lot of folks in our community who are carrying grief, anxiety, depression, anger and sadness in their hearts. 

Some of our friends and neighbors have experienced illness first hand or have a legitimate concern of becoming ill, some have suffered a financial hardship, others are filled with sadness because they know a familiar voice and the distinctive laugh of a loved one will be missing from the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.  Still some of our friends are suffering from a heavy heart after being hurtful to someone they care about, not knowing how to seek forgiveness or even how to give forgiveness.  Others have rage inside of them due to frustrating politicians or situations outside of their immediate control.  There are also those who will feel unnoticed as they work behind the scenes doing their part to care for patients in the hospital, or those who try to make the holidays a little more special for residents of assisted living centers or those responding to domestic assaults and car crashes, which don't stop just because it's a holiday.  Rather than share a special day with their own families, they will do those things because of their desire to help others.

I share this with you, not to bring anyone down, but rather because I feel it's important for all of us to be understanding of the weight some of our friends and neighbors are shouldering right now. 

One of the things that has always made me incredibly proud of our community is how we come together in extraordinary ways when a family experiences a struggle, whether it's a house fire, illness or sudden tragedy and I think we have the same ability to help support and encourage one another even during times when we don't fully understand or recognize precisely what someone is going through.

We have the ability to not fixate on the things we don't like but rather focus on the positives.  We have the ability to hold our tongue and not say something which may be hurtful, we have the ability to show some grace towards those we don't understand or be the first to reach out in a spirit of forgiveness.  We have the ability be kind and helpful, even to strangers.  We have the ability to decide to make the time to check in on someone who may be feeling lonely during the holidays.  We have the ability to consider doing random acts of kindness, recognizing any act of kindness - no matter how big or small - still positively impacts someone's life.

This year I'm thankful because I know the people of this community and I also know the best thing about our community is all of you.  We do not have to be divided. We do not have to be contentious or argumentative.  We do not have to be easily offended.  We can be kind, courteous, helpful and caring for one another and I'm thankful for our ability to do just that.

May God Bless you all and keep you safe,

David M. Groves

Sheriff, Cherokee County

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