Big hearts in ... Gilmer County at Thanksgiving & Yuletide!

We Gilmer Countians may have our shortcomings, but they don't show up during the holiday season. To the contrary, the holidays prove that we have "big hearts" and "big cheer," with their caring warmth being radiated out to many people needing it.

Truly, about four different organizations, at least, go to a lot of trouble to provide our county's residents with that "Happy Holiday" feeling. Moreover, they do it at considerable personal cost to themselves in terms of time, energy, lost family time and out-of-pocket expense Ñ just to make this holiday season happier for those not feeling up to par, gloomy or depressed.

After all, many individuals in this county and all throughout America feel left out during the Thanksgiving through Christmas Holiday seasons. They may be widows, senior widowers, single parents, the poor, the sick, those far from their homes, the homeless, and visiting hunters, among others. If a person fits into any one of these categories, they find the holiday seasons to be troubling, tiring and lonely. That's why when good-hearted community organizations put on gala holiday events, they are very much appreciated.

For example, Pastor Lloyd Stewart, his event organizers and congregation of the Leading Creek Baptist Church is to be commended for providing a free Thanksgiving Dinner on last Thurs. evening, Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving Day itself - at the Glenville Firehouse. The church has held this free of charge holiday meal in the past, but this was the first year they expanded it by using the larger and more modern firehouse kitchen and dining room facility.

This community meal provided any one of the attending individuals with the upbeat family atmosphere that would bring back memories of past family gatherings of Thanksgiving, thereby helping to mitigate his or her feelings of the "Holiday Blues."

In addition, Pastor Stewart, who is also a Gilmer County firefighter, and the other predominantly Fire Department organizers in his church invited anyone, or any family, to come out for a second Thanksgiving dinner on that afternoon. As they stated, "You are welcome to come out just to socialize and share a meal with friends in the evening." They also emphasized that there was no need to dress up, out-of-town hunters were welcome and that visitors would be warmly greeted in the spirit of the holiday, of which they were true to their word. Finally, they stressed that caring Gilmer Countians would be preparing the meal, and as a beneficiary of this community Thanksgiving Dinner, this publisher can affirm the truth to their generosity and concern for the happiness of all of us attendees.

Now, if this mega-volunteer event wasn't enough, the same organizers, mainly the Fire Department and their Support Group, are also coming back this week to provide the county with its traditional and colorful Annual Firefighters Christmas Parade.

This traditional gala community extravaganza will take place at 5:00 p.m. on this Sat. evening, Dec. 7 on Main Street in Glenville.

This year's 2013 Annual Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Dept.'s Christmas Parade has the theme: "Island of Misfit Toys." Once again, there will be a float contest, as well as Santa Claus Ñ afterwards Ñ who will be giving out treats in City Square Park. Parents are asked to bring their cameras to catch this moment in their children's enjoyment of meeting Santa. The parade is sponsored by Glenville McDonald's. For more information, please call or text 304-406-2268 or 304-904-8786.

Nevertheless, relative to the Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Parade, they couldn't happen without broadly-based community and business support. Hence, we editors commend the many unsung donors who each year enable the Leading Creek Baptist Church and the Fire Dept. to provide these two above-noted community service events for the benefit of the general public, but especially those needing them to break the "Winter and/or Holiday Blues."

At the same time, let us not forget the Gilmer County community organizations that opened their hearts and doors to the visiting deer hunters for a meal, some socializing and good cheer. We editors refer to the meals provided by the Tanner Community Center and the Cedarville Community Association, and their many volunteers.

In a quick look, on Sun., Nov. 24, the Tanner Community Center, which is struggling to keep up the maintenance on its building, put on a fund-raiser that also helped visiting deer hunters, who were far from their homes, to have a delicious home-cooked dinner. Moreover, the meals were served in a warm and cheerful dining room.
Several volunteers helped to make the visitors feel at home. Also, volunteer Brenda Minney, of Normantown and a Tanner native, offered to serve the hunters breakfast on Mon.-Wed., Nov. 25-27 during that active first week of hunting.

Additionally, we suspect that the citizens of Cedarville had another successful Deer Hunters Dinner the night before the deer season began.

In the main, because of their community activism, we editors highly commend all of the above-mentioned groups for their vision, hard work, community-mindedness and big hearts for providing warm fellowship and warm meals, as well as a Christmas Parade, for those who, maybe, wouldn't have had them otherwise. So, our editorial congratulations go out to the Leading Creek Baptist Church, the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Dept., the Tanner Community Center and the Cedarville Community Association for these well thought-out, well executed and very much needed civic events for the general public's benefit and uplift.