Why I am thankful | GUEST OPINION

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are always a special time of year for people who live and work in Marysville. It’s a time to be with family and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, a time to say thanks for all that we have, and a time to reflect on what we have shared with those who are not as fortunate or have fallen on tough times.

It’s the people who make Marysville a welcoming place to live, work and play, from the organizations and businesses we support to the neighborhoods where we live and look out for one another.

Marysville is a community that goes above and beyond in community service. Our citizens give selflessly of themselves to make others’ lives better, helping each other and looking out for their neighbors.

I am thankful for the people who make this city what it is — a welcoming, lively, compassionate and innovative place where anyone, whether newcomer or visitor, can feel a sense of being home.

I am thankful for the hardworking employees of the city of Marysville, from the police officers and firefighters who risk their lives every day to the engineers, to the technicians and planners who make the city run and make sure we’re moving in the right direction.

I can think of many groups and activities to be thankful for in our community, but here is a short list through the seasons in 2012 that immediately come to mind.

  • Nothing captured the essence of civic pride and spirit of giving at the top of 2012 more than Clean Sweep Week. This weeklong series of events brought together hard-working volunteers, merchants, church and civic groups and city employees who gave downtown Marysville a once-over spring cleaning that polished our community’s image and put an extra shine in downtown. Groups painted over graffiti, removed trash from streets and sidewalks, hauled away unsightly junk that created an eyesore for neighborhoods, planted flowers in public places and installed bike racks, and Third Street businesses added several aesthetic improvements to make for a more pleasant shopping visit (we expect to host more of these cleanups around Marysville in 2013).
  • Service clubs like the Noon and Sunrise Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, Soroptimists and the Lions. These groups and others contribute their time and resources throughout the year toward a better future for our kids and others in our community. You can find them co-sponsoring many of the community’s premier events including the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Dance, Easter Egg Hunt, Fishing Derby, Strawberry Festival, Healthy Communities Challenge Day, Movies and Concerts in the Park, Poochapalooza, Touch A Truck, Merrysville for the Holidays and Cedarcrest Golf Course Holiday Tour of Lights. The Arts Coalition also deserves praise for its successful first-ever Art Walk downtown last September, reminding us of the importance of the arts to improving quality of life in our community.
  • Countless volunteer hours are also donated through city-sanctioned activities like the Police Department’s Marysville Volunteers Program (MVP) for crime prevention, and the Ken Baxter Community Center.
  • We are also thankful to those individual citizens, families and groups who volunteer their time, energy and resources to the many volunteer community projects, youth sports leagues and church service projects such as Serve Day, and also to those who serve on the many volunteer boards and commissions within Marysville, lending their own knowledge and expertise.
  • We should also be appreciative of the positive activities and places for our youth, including the Marysville YMCA and Marysville Boys & Girls Club, and youth groups like Boys and Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire USA.
  • Throughout the year, the City Council and I participated in more than a dozen ribbon-cuttings and dedications for new businesses and projects. They ranged in scale from dedications of the Armed Forces Reserve Center and Everett Clinic at Smokey Point, to more mom-and-pop-sized businesses including Simply Caketastic and Aunt Nae’s Attic and Collectibles. It is encouraging to see new business activity in Marysville despite the current unpredictable economy, a sure sign that our community is a good place to invest.
  • We should be thankful for the families and service members who serve aboard the USS Nimitz and its carrier battle group who are stationed at Naval Station Everett, many of whom live and work in our community, and to those in the Army Reserve and National Guard who work or train at the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center, providing support at home for those deployed in the field.
  • The Marysville Community Food Bank and Toy Store, its corps of hard-working volunteers and the great many who donate food and money throughout the year to assist needy families locally. It isn’t surprising that we came full circle when we honored Rita Henry as Volunteer of the Month in January for leadership with the Toy Store, then finished the year recognizing Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator JoAnn Sewell for her contributions to the Food Bank. And, in an unexpected surprise gesture that put an exclamation point on giving at the holiday season, Mike O’Brien, owner of O’Brien Auto Group that will open a Honda dealership in north Marysville later this year, was so moved after hearing Sewell’s story of passion for feeding the hungry, he donated $10,000 to the Food Bank in her name. During our region and nation’s most challenging economic times when the Food Bank has asked for help, the community has generously responded.

This holiday season, and as we enter the New Year, I encourage all Marysville residents to reflect on the good that has been done in 2012 while enjoying special times with family and friends.

I wish you and yours a safe, warm and peaceful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091.


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