This article was originally published Nov. 21, 2018, by NEW Media for its “Why I Give Thanks” special section.
I have been very blessed, there’s no doubt about that. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on these many blessings, and I’m honored to be selected by NEW Media to share my reasons for being thankful. When I look back at my life, I know I didn’t do everything the right way. I had three kids by the time I was 22 years old, and our young family didn’t start out on the best footing. We didn’t have any money, but somehow, we figured it out. Back then, I was just trying to put food on the table, and I had plenty of non-glamorous jobs. I plowed snow and drove school bus, delivered oil and sold cars. I worked hard and put myself through school.
Thankful for Family
My father always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, if I worked hard enough. My mom and dad, Carolyn and Brian, were always supportive and encouraging. I’m so thankful to have them in my life. I’m also thankful to Diane, the mother of our daughters, Mackenzie, Morgan, and Madison. I could not have asked for a better mother for our girls. We had a 50s-style marriage where I worked and she stayed home with the kids. I’m very grateful that she filled in the gaps and was there when I couldn’t be.
Thankful for a Career as a Funeral Director
I’m also thankful for the good people who showed me how to be a funeral director. From them, I learned much more than just the rudiments of my job. I learned how to be a professional and how to interact with people. My career as a funeral director has been everything I imagined. I have had so many memorable experiences. A highlight of my career has been participating in the funerals of dignitaries, but I’ve been blessed to participate in the funerals of people from all walks of life.
Anyone who is familiar with my work as a funeral director knows I have high standards. Creating the most meaningful send-off possible for a loved one is important to me. People typically are involved in funeral planning every 12 years, so they’re not familiar with the process. I do it every day, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help families plan a unique and meaningful funeral service.
Thankful for Community
I grew up on the East Coast and earned my Mortuary Science degree in Massachusetts before relocating to Milwaukee in 2009. When I moved to Gillett in 2015, I total immersed myself in the community. Gillett is reminiscent of my hometown of Colebrook, New Hampshire, where I was raised to be a good friend and a good citizen and to help out wherever I could, regardless of the circumstances. This motivated me to become active in community organizations in Gillett and eventually, run for mayor.
I’m so thankful for Gillett’s city employees and elected officials. They are truly dedicated to serving the city to the best of their ability. Since taking office in April, I’ve learned how difficult it is to maintain the level of service people want with the money we have coming in. Our goal is to provide the highest quality service we can. I’m thankful to be part of the team working toward that goal.
I’m also thankful for the opportunity to serve Gillett in so many rewarding ways. The Gillett Civic Club and Gillett Business Association are hugely influential in the community, not because of me, but because of all the influential people who are members. These clubs really set the tone for what happens in Gillett. It’s humbling to be a part of that, and even more so, to be the president of these clubs.
Thankful for Gillett’s Rejuvenation
What’s taken me by surprise is the social media aspect of our lives. More and more, our community relies on Facebook and other platforms to share news and events. It’s really forced us to take a hard look at how we communicate, how we market, and how we grow. The old ways have given way to new. It’s an exciting time to be an active resident in Gillett. I see rejuvenation and new life in the city. While I don’t take credit for this, it’s very fun to be a part of it.
Thankful for God’s blessings
Faith plays a significant role in my life, and I’m ever thankful to God for his abundant blessings. I’m thankful to my family and friends for their love and support. I’m thankful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given in life. On behalf of the City of Gillett and Legacy Funeral Chapels in Gillett and Green Bay, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.