My practice during the Season of Thanks is to write my personal expressions of thanks to individuals who have made a difference in my life, because they gave. I began this practice simply through an effort one year to share my appreciation through the action of honor and remembrance. Over the years I have been humbled by the responses from those I have mention, their families and even folks who never knew them but some how through this column they thought and remember others who had touched their lives. For all of those I want to say thanks. Your encouragement has made a difference in my life. Your actions were unexpected and today I must say thanks as I write this column of thanks, beginning with you.
The different periods of my life I have attempted to mark with no order or system in place. Simply remembering each year folks from childhood to adulthood is the only plan. Regrets I have a few. Helen Martin was an individual I would have loved to have seen before she passed. She was a lady of Catholic faith that gave me my first cross of memory. I always wanted to say thanks and compare my childhood reflections with an adult perspective but she died before that opportunity ever availed itself. My regret is not being able to say thanks for the memories she created that I’ve cherished all these years.
In college I had many different stages and periods from which to reflect. Judge Pleas Jones from Williamsburg, KY., is one individual I am grateful for. Having been diagnosed with Sero-Negative Arthritis at 21 years of age was not in my plans, but Judge Jones was a friend in deed because he helped a person in need-me. A wheel chair is not the way one wants to get around, and thanks I owe to many. Jimmy Leach from Middlesboro, KY was a willing hand to push a guy around. Scott Thomas in Florence and Gary Minton in Somerset, KY make my Hall of Thanks too. There is no doubt that you can discover real friendships from the struggles and battles of life. Fighting to live may seem like an over aggregated given my current ability to walk and run today, but had you been there back then you could understand my commitment to thanks now.
Dennis Goodman served as a Youth Extension Specialist with the University of Kentucky and served thousands of youth through Kentucky 4-H. Dennis was an adult who believed that youths had ideas, opinions, and he valued their considerations just as important as his own. He believed in enabling youths to explore both their skills and talents. That desire to help young people success is a unique characteristic that embodied Dennis totally. He impacted students in all 120 counties of Kentucky. He was raised Episcopalian, lived as a Methodist and I joked at his funeral he expected a Baptist to get him all the way into Heaven. I am most grateful for his influence and I credit him as one of those adults who shaped my life into who I am and what I believe. If your child was a part of the Kentucky State 4-H Teen Council then Dennis Goodman is a name you too appreciate.
Thanksgiving is a most special time of the year and the author of thanks has provided each of us with this opportunity to highlight the lives of others by saying thanks to those that have molded us and given of themselves. Now it is time for us to give of ourselves to the benefit of others.
Until then – Timothy Mills