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Even during a trying year, the community shares its many reasons to be grateful.

COURTESY PHOTO  - Many events and activities, including most recently the Reunion Farmers Market, couldn't happen this year, but there's still plenty to be thankful for. If we're being honest, this has not been a fun year.

And at this point, we don't need to outline why this was the case. As of this writing Oregon was in the midst of another "freeze" due a record spike in COVID-19 cases, and for most (though not all, if you read further in this paper) Thanksgiving this year will look nothing like it usually does.

With all that in mind, one could argue that it's more important than ever to take a step back and remind ourselves of everything we have to be thankful for. So it's our honor to continue the tradition of publishing the "Our Grateful Hearts" section, which is filled with messages from community members outlining what they're most thankful for in life.

Happy Thanksgiving! And stay safe.

— The Review

Wendland

I am grateful for the many positives of 2020 that counteract all of the negatives. Spending quality time with family and friends at a much less hurried pace, still being able to run our company without laying anyone off, still serving our city on Council and getting much needed work done, and getting through another silly season of politics where we all wondered if civilization would come to an end according to the commercials and newscasts. Well it didn't. Spending the last nine months in our altered state of our new reality, I am truly grateful to be living in Lake Oswego where life, often times, still seems perfectly normal.

— John Wendland

Lake Oswego city councilor

De la Cruz

I am grateful that in the midst of such an uncertain time, I have my family and that we are all healthy. I'm grateful that I get to work with such an incredible team and that I am able to contribute to something bigger than myself in service to others.

— Lora de la Cruz

Lake Oswego School District superintendent

This year has been a tough one for so many people. While it would be easy to cast 2020 in a negative light, I think it's important to highlight the positives. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for our many outdoor gems that have been my escape from everyday life. The United States is home to some amazing national parks and forests that I have been lucky to explore this year. I'm thankful for my family's health during this pandemic and the fact that I am still here, reporting the news in Lake Oswego. A heartfelt "thank you" to our wonderful readers and subscribers.

— Clara Howell

Lake Oswego Review reporter

Gudman Kraemer

In 2020 I am grateful for my health, the fact I am not worried about my next meal and family and friends. There are many in the world who do not have any of the three. Everything beyond health, my next meal and family and friends is gravy.

— Jeff Gudman

What a year it's been! I miss traveling, hugging, concerts in the park, and in-person classes, Respond to Racism and WLLO Village board meetings. Still, I'm grateful for things I've never been grateful for — like takeout food and Zoom. Probably the one thing I am most grateful for is my adopted dog Lily. I've had her two years and little did I know what a blessing she'd be! She makes me walk her to Chuckie Pies every day so she can get a doggie treat (and I can get fresh air, coffee and kinship) and she is great at snuggling.

— Terri Kraemer

Niland

I feel so grateful for the love in my life — my partner, Andrew, our children and all of our friends & family. I am thrilled to be working in my dream job at the library and doing my best to make a positive impact on my beloved Lake Oswego. We will get through this time, stronger, more resilient and aware that the most important things in life aren't things. Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

— Nancy Niland

Library volunteer & special events coordinator

Dickinson

I am thankful for real abstract meaningful things like resiliency, creativity, perseverance, joy, delight in each day even when life looks different or each day the same. And I am thankful for our big beautiful earth. And for people, so many people. But right now I want to share my gratitude for Terrie Sheik. Terrie has been our head secretary, our go-to person, our rock for so many years and so many people at LO. She is "graduating" in December. And I am just so thankful for and inspired by her. I will miss her so much. We all will.

— Rollin Dickinson

Lake Oswego High School principal

Edwards

Although 2020 has been tumultuous, I am so grateful for the many patrons of Lakewood Center for the Arts who have stepped forward as donors, subscribers, art attendees, and volunteers! The overwhelming expressions of concern and support as we pivoted to online and/or socially distant events is so gratifying. The talents and flexibility of our many artists on the stage, in their studios, and behind the scenes has been outstanding! In addition I owe overwhelming thanks to my friends, co-workers, and Lakewood's board of directors for making everything work in these stressful times. But the most important thanks and gratitude goes to the woman who makes every day better than the one before — my love, Nancy Niland.

— Andrew Edwards

Lakewood Center for the Arts executive director

Slepian

It probably seems odd that there is so much to be grateful for this year and yet this year has been full of so many gifts. From my brother surviving a rough and early bout of COVID, to getting to spend so many unexpected days with my old dog Bear (yes, he's still alive...) and our 4 other pets while working from home with my favorite person on the planet who probably doesn't know how grateful I am for him, I feel very lucky. Long walks and many sunny runs outdoors, virtual relays, rediscovering a love of climbing, podcasting about New Zealand rugby, volunteering at my favorite place — the Oregon Humane Society, and even a masked up road trip in a 1982 Vanagon have all made this a magical, if not weird and disjointed year.

— Jenny Slepian

Lake Oswego sustainability and management analyst

Schultz

Anis Mojgani's poem Come Closer beckons, "come closer, come into this…" even when we "feel thinned out." At Lakeridge Middle School efforts to walk closer together are sources of joy and gratitude. This fall, kids showed resilience and adaptation; families provided encouragement and support; staff made heroic efforts; and we completed a beautiful new building! Walking into our new school, I imagine the poem's closing lines: a doorknob, glowing with light like "…chance before you./ Grab it and walk through — chin up, back straight, eyes open, hearts loud./ Walk through this with me." I am grateful to walk through this difficult time with our students, families, and staff.

— Kurt Schultz

Lakeridge High School principal

Castle

I am thankful that if I am going to be cooped up with someone that it is with the love of life, my wife, Jan. We really enjoy each other's company, taking walks together in the country and are grateful to be able to spend this time together.

— Duke Castle

Lake Oswego Sustainability Network co-founder

This year challenged our community to come together and support local businesses — and Lake Oswego wholeheartedly stepped up! We are so grateful to everyone who booked small and safe events at Ironlight and supported our partnerships with industry friends (caterers, wineries, and florists are just a few!). Thank you from our family to yours, and Happy Thanksgiving!

— Carey, Sonal & Taryn at Ironlight

To

In this unprecedented and turbulent year, I am grateful for the compassion of neighbors, the resilience of teachers, the sacrifice of frontline workers, and the hope and steadfast belief in decency and democracy of everyday people. I am grateful for those who strive to see the humanity in others, as difficult and unsettling as that journey may be. Finally, I am thankful for my family and community, who continually remind me of how much I already have and how little I truly need.

— Kimvi To

LO for LOve chair

I'm thankful to work with a group of dedicated people who are committed to serving their community. Local news is a precious commodity that should not be taken for granted. Their efforts to tell important stories helps to create stronger and more informed communities. Knowledge is power and the more accurate and factual news that we can share with our readers, the better off we all are. Of course my family is precious to me and I'm equally thankful that we are all safe and healthy. I hope the same for all our supportive readers.

— Brian Monihan

Lake Oswego Review publisher

Kerklaan

2020 has been unapologetically challenging, but there are some silver linings. This year, we have all found new ways to connect, do business, communicate, exercise patience, engage, serve communities, love deeply, show empathy, help others, and give ourselves grace. I'm particularly grateful for all my incredible colleagues, who've continued to provide essential services and infrastructure to our Lake Oswego community every day. I'm proud of how we've been able to overcome obstacles, shift gears throughout crises, embrace change, pivot quickly, become more creative, adapt to new days, and make lasting improvements — all for the greater good and all for LOTogether.

— Katy Kerklaan

Lake Oswego citizen information specialist

2020 has given me a new appreciation for the essential. That word — "essential" — became a bit of a buzzword during the early days of the pandemic, as we argued over which businesses and activities really could be defined that way. Many of those arguments are ongoing as we experience a new and terrifying wave of this relentless virus, but one thing I know for sure is that I have never been more appreciative of what I consider essential in my own life: a comfortable home, good health, a job I love and — most importantly — friends and family with whom I've never felt closer, even as we are forced to be apart. Finally, I want to shout out the wonderful staff we have in our newsroom, and the readers who support us.

— Patrick Malee

Lake Oswego Review editor

Draper

I am grateful for our River Grove and Lake Oswego community and for how they have responded to the many challenges we have faced so far in 2020. I know this has not been easy on our students, families, staff, and community. Having said that, against all odds, connections have been made and learning is taking place. There has been a tremendous amount of patience, flexibility, and grace which is greatly appreciated. I'm thankful we support one another. We have a resilient community, and we are clearly stronger together. Thank you River Grove and LOSD community!

— Dan Draper

River Grove Elementary principal

Mboup

2020 has been a complicated and trying year to say the least; but rather than complaining about it, I am grateful that I am alive to write this.

I am grateful to live with my wife and beautiful boys. I am grateful to have the chance to serve a community I love. I am grateful I finished my doctoral studies; I am also very grateful that my school community is doing well and has been relatively safe from COVID-19.

I am also grateful to talk to my dad before he passed away.

Man, there so much I am grateful for!

— Massene Mboup

Lake Oswego city councilor-elect

Nguyen

Expressing gratitude feels very different in 2020 as we navigate the undercurrent of reckoning, loss, and sacrifice. I find solace in knowing that those who came before us prevailed in times of adversity. I am inspired by what we have accomplished together when we lead with open hearts and tap our collective reserves to embrace the essence of compassion, grit, and resiliency. And for that, I am grateful in 2020.

— Daniel Nguyen

Lake Oswego city councilor

Manz

To be thankful in a good year is simplicity defined. To be thankful in 2020 is an exercise in complex emotions. To my family, dear friends, colleagues, and citizens of Lake Oswego, know that I am forever thankful for your support and kindness. I am thankful for all of the joy, faith, and humor you shared, even while I know you had to dig deep given your personal situations. To live in such a beautiful place with a caring community is humbling. For that and so much more, my heart is grateful.

— Jackie Manz

Lake Oswego city councilor

Verdick

I am grateful for all the people who help make the world and our community a better place - the helpers, givers, teachers, protectors, healers, inventors, and artists. They help make our lives meaningful, enriching, safer, easier, fuller, and more beautiful. They have helped us all cope with 2020. My thanks to you all.

— Rachel Verdick

Lake Oswego city councilor-elect

Gupta

Despite the unprecedented challenges we faced collectively in 2020, this year has brought many blessings. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a LOSD school board member. I am constantly inspired by our school community. Our amazing students, teachers and staff, and families have persevered to build relationships, stay connected, and innovate in this incredibly dynamic learning environment. I am extremely grateful for the incredible support from my family, friends, and colleagues. I wish my fellow Lake Oswegans a safe, healthy, and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday

— Neelam Gupta

Lake Oswego School Board member

Fisher

This year I am truly grateful for the teachers and staff of Lakeridge High School. In the best of times they are a group of professionals who care deeply about their students and do all they can to see them succeed. In this new environment of Distance Learning, I have seen this amazing group of educators display superpowers in their profession. They are tireless in their commitment. They are kind, caring and compassionate. They work every day to connect with their students through a screen and they are doing it magnificently. This distanced world is not what any of us signed up for, but I am grateful that the teachers of Lakeridge High School have become warriors for their students' learning; they put on their armor every day and march out into the virtual world to protect and instruct their students' learning and growing. Our community is blessed and I am grateful to be working with the most outstanding group of educators in this profession. Happy Thanksgiving Pacer Family - I am Grateful for you!!

— Desiree Fisher

Lakeridge High School principal


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