Middlesex United Way: This is what we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving

MIDDLETOWN — With holidays comes great food, but there is more than just the food to be thankful for. During this time of year, it is important to remember who and what are most important to us. I want to take this time to focus on some of the amazing, positive things, both personally and professionally, going on in our lives.

I am thankful for kindness and grateful for the incredible passion of volunteers and staff who truly want to change lives. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many loving people at home, work, and the community.

This year, some staff and board directors at Middlesex United Way have shared with me their thoughts and took a moment to let us know what they are thankful for. Here is what they said:

“I am most grateful for my family and friends. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I’m a lucky girl!” — Janet Hilliard Porriello

“This year, I am very grateful for new and growing friendships with good people who have filled this year with adventure and laughter. I’m grateful for increased opportunities to be involved in my community, to feel like I’ve made even a tiny positive difference. I’m also grateful for a solid foundation that makes all other activities possible: a fulfilling job, a comfortable home, good food, and a family that loves and supports me.” — Meg Slater

“I am thankful for living in a community that cares for its residents 365 days a year, not just during the holiday season. The amount of activities supporting the local communities during the year are phenomenal.” — Rosario Rizzo

“I moved here from Maryland a year and a half ago, and it’s been a difficult transition for me. I am thankful that I am finally feeling like I am acclimating to my new environment, and no longer feel isolated and alone. I am thankful that I am starting to form some good solid friendships here through Rock Voices in West Hartford and the Manchester Women’s Club.” —Maria Wood

“I am thankful for a supportive community and warm, loving friends and family.” — Jean M. D’Aquila

“I am thankful to be working with such committed people who care about their community. This includes co-workers, volunteers, and the so many others who work throughout Middlesex County who are passionate about helping others! I am inspired every day by so many selfless acts of kindness and compassion.” — Ed Bonilla

“I am thankful for a lot of things: My health … being alive … being able to walk in here today and breathe and smile!: — Rebecca Lemanski

“This year, I am thankful that my family is healthy, and my extended family can all be together to enjoy the holiday.” — Tracy Raicik

“Thanksgiving is a reminder for me to be thankful for so many things I take for granted — and to be thankful every day. And for potato chips and ice cream!” — Audrey Livingston

“I am thankful for my little family — Cameron, and Willow, my nephew, Jasper, being born in great health and living a great first year of life, and to witness a community full of the most generous people making a difference in so many lives. I am also grateful for the friends who have filled my year with many laughs and great times!” — Amanda Furlong

“I am thankful for those among us that give of their time, talent and treasures to assist those that are less fortunate. Every day, I look for opportunities and encourage others to give back so that those less fortunate among us can enjoy what my family and I have come to appreciate.” — Kevin Reich

“I am thankful for the many friends, colleagues and family members that make up my personal support system. I would be lost without them!” — Kim Hogan

“I am thankful for the health of my family!” — Julianne Rioux

All of the staff at Middlesex United Way and our dedicated board of directors joins me in wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We are thankful for you, and we’re thankful to be part of this generous community, and we are so grateful for your ongoing support of United Way helping us to serve our wonderful community.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way of Middletown.