Fayetteville Area Leaders Say Why We’re Thankful In 2021


It’s been a troublesome 12 months, however even in the worst of occasions, I attempt to discover one thing for which to be thankful.  

I’m thankful for the COVID-19 vaccine and that each one of my family members, particularly my mother, have gotten the shot. I misplaced my dad to the pandemic final 12 months, and I wouldn’t want that type of ache on anybody.  


I’m thankful for my daughter, Ginger, and that she’s wholesome and thriving and in a position to attend her school lessons in individual this 12 months at N.C. State. 


I am thankful for my candy pandemic cat Mark, my imply outdated man canine Elliott and my judgmental outdated woman cat Jibby. They’re nice firm after I’m working from residence. 

I’m thankful for The Fayetteville Observer and the great individuals who make up our newsroom. It’s an honor to work with the passionate and devoted Myron Pitts, Andrew Craft, Rachael Riley, Steve DeVane, Fran Norton, Monica Holland, Jacob Pucci, Akira Kyles, Rodd Baxley, Jack Boden, Chapel Fowler, Jasmine Castrellon, Kristen Johnson and David Thompson. 

And I’m thankful for you, reader. You’re the explanation we inform the tales that inform, entertain and educate, and I’m grateful that you just maintain coming again to learn us.  

These are a number of the causes I’m thankful,  however I wished to listen to from group leaders, too. I requested folks in enterprise, well being, authorities, the humanities and group outreach to inform me what they’re thankful for in 2021.  

Right here’s what they stated.  

Rakeem Jones

Rakeem Jones

Rakeem Jones is a Fayetteville group advocate.

“I’m thankful for the flexibility to be a father to my kids and supply for my group. My motivation is the truth that my father, Ricky Jones, is there for me it doesn’t matter what and my mom and grandmother, Cora Jones and Callie Hawkins, taught me the worth of giving again. So, to have the ability to honor them is the best reward of all.”

Learn Extra:Rakeem Jones: A tale of two summers in Fayetteville

Jeremy Fiebig

Jeremy Fiebig

Jeremy Fiebig is the inventive director of Candy Tea Shakespeare.

“I am thankful for individuals who assist and make house for bizarre folks. I am a bizarre individual and I do bizarre issues. I can’t let you know the distinction it makes when there is a relationship, organizational tradition, or group that makes house for weirdos. My spouse, for example, is a superbly regular one who has made house for me to be and do bizarre stuff for twenty years. So I am very grateful for her. However I am additionally tremendously thankful for the folks and organizations in our group who not solely permit bizarre, however clear the best way for it to occur. After we let wild issues develop, they turn out to be stunning over time.

“Lots of people don’t like bizarre, or they’re insecure about it. They discover it off-putting. And a whole lot of people due to this fact wish to weed the bizarre out.

“I am right here to say that the backyard is gorgeous when it’s wild. And so I am grateful to the parents who insist that or not it’s so.”

Learn Extra:Fayetteville’s Sweet Tea Shakespeare prepares to perform in front of a live audience again

Kathy Greggs, center, is the president and co-founder of the Fayetteville Police Accountability Task Force.

Kathy Greggs 

Kathy Greggs is the president and co-founder of Fayetteville PACT.

“In a position to give to these in want.”

Bunker the Woodpecker

Bunker the Woodpecker

Bunker is the staff mascot for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

“I’m most thankful for my staff. My staff isn’t just the gamers on the sphere, it is the entrance workplace employees, it is the followers that come to our video games, and most significantly, it is the group I get to attach with. They’re what retains me flying again yearly. Go Woodpeckers!”

Carl Pringle

Carl Pringle

Carl Pringle is thought for his group outreach in the Fayetteville area. 

“I’m most thankful that I’ve been in a position to be a blessing to others. I am thankful that I’ve been in a position to join with others to assist these in want. I’m thankful to get up and all the things else is an additional bonus.”

Sarahgrace Snipes

Sarahgrace Snipes

Sarahgrace Snipes is the manager director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

“This Thanksgiving, I’m most thankful for my assist system — my household, mates, and group. 2021 has been an excellent 12 months of change and my assist system has proven love, endurance, kindness, and assist.”

Judge Toni King

Decide Toni King 

Decide Toni King is the Cumberland County chief District Courtroom decide.

“I’m thankful for my household, mates and good well being. COVID-19 has rocked the world and we’ve misplaced family members, whom all of us thought can be right here. I’ve realized to not take something or anybody without any consideration. I’m grateful to have the ability to collect collectively, make recollections and share deep laughter with household and mates.”

Learn Extra:Community service: Judge Toni King makes a difference in the Fayetteville area

Mike Nagowski

Mike Nagowksi

Mike Nagowski is the CEO of Cape Fear Valley Health system.

“I’m most grateful for my household who has all the time been there for me and for all of my teammates at Cape Concern Valley who’re all the time right here for the communities we serve.”

Johnny Wilson

Johnny Wilson

Johnny Wilson is the manager director of Fayetteville City Ministry.

“I’m supremely thankful for spouse’s meals. From Thanksgiving by the tip of the Vacation Season I make greater than a concerted effort to let my mates, household, work household and colleagues understand how a lot they imply to me. Whereas I pleasure myself in NEVER taking life without any consideration, I really guarantee these near me understand how I really feel about them in sharing meals, laughs and time collectively … I am thankful. 

“In working in the nonprofit area for many of my grownup life it provides me nice satisfaction to have the ability to serve residents throughout this season. The enjoyment that my work staff and I get in seeing youth open their items, seeing households in want getting adopted by our group supporters, paying off utilities and lease/mortgage and so on., is nothing in need of superb. We get to witness the gorgeous scene of people serving to people … I am thankful. 

“In conclusion, I’m thankful in a time like this our group has nonetheless flourished and nobody has been laid off, I’m thankful my well being is nice and my household’s well being is nice, I’m thankful that I get to reside and consider that I’m making it a Thanksgiving and Vacation Season for 12 months a 12 months for thus many. I’m thankful to understanding what blessings actually imply! “

Learn Extra:Fayetteville nonprofit competes for Community Thrives grant money

Dr. Stanley T. Wearden

Dr. Stanley T. Wearden

Dr. Stanley T. Wearden is the president of Methodist College.

“There may be a lot to be thankful for in 2021. I’m significantly thankful for the great college students, school, and employees of Methodist College; the cooperation of everybody on campus in getting vaccinated and serving to us dramatically scale back the incidence of COVID at MU; and the truth that, even in this time of pandemic, everyone seems to be working onerous on our strategic initiatives, ensuing in our largest enrollment and income since 2016! This 12 months, we additionally acquired the most important reward in MU historical past, a $14-million bequest from the property of Mr. Robert J. Chaffin. I’m terribly grateful for Mr. Chaffin and for the continued beneficiant assist of the Fayetteville and Cumberland County group. With out your assist, we might not be thriving as we’re at the moment. I want everybody a cheerful and peaceable Thanksgiving.”

Suzy Hrabovsky

Suzy Hrabovsky

Suzy Hrabovsky is the manager director of CEED

“I’m thankful for thus many issues. First my household, which I’m grateful for the chance to be a mother and lift great kids. I’m grateful for the chance. I’ve had so many alternatives this 12 months to be part of a lot good to supply to the group and see actual change in small companies in our group.”

Learn Extra:‘Who better to support us than us?’ Fayetteville rallies around Black-owned businesses

Mayor-elect Kia Anthony

Kia Anthony 

Kia Anthony is an entrepreneur and the mayor-elect of Spring Lake 

“With all that has occurred in the final two years, I’ve many issues to be thankful for. COVID-19 has devastated households everywhere in the world, leaving so many individuals alone throughout the holidays. Due to that, I’m most grateful for my household and mates that love and assist me.  With out them, life can be far more difficult and positively extra boring.  Despair and nervousness have reached all-time highs. So, being amid a world pandemic has made me extra appreciative of my well being and sound thoughts.   I’m so thankful for the City of Spring Lake for selecting me to steer our nice city into a brand new period of prosperity.  

“A thankful coronary heart shouldn’t be solely the best advantage, however the mother or father of all the opposite virtues.” Cicero

Learn Extra:‘I think everybody who got elected last night wants Spring Lake to succeed’: Changes on the horizon for town leadership

Shari Fiveash

Shari Fiveash

Shari Fiveash is the president and CEO of the Larger Fayetteville Chamber.

“Generally, it’s simpler to deal with what we don’t have, quite than what we do have. It’s essential to take trip and bear in mind the entire issues to be thankful for that many people take without any consideration. Household, Buddies, Well being, Freedom and why? After the lack of any of those you understand what you had. The love of my mom, the folks that know me finest, the toes to stroll miles, the flexibility to worship and vote how I select. I’m blessed every single day to be the place I’m and thank God for it. Completely satisfied Thanksgiving!”

Grilley Mitchell

Grilley Mitchell

Grilley Mitchell is president of the Cumberland County Veterans Council and Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Committee and a commissioner-elect on the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.

“I’m thankful to be alive; with the persevering with challenges of the pandemic and different miserable points we appear to face day by day, all of us might use a motive to rejoice and be thankful. I’m thankful that I reside in a rustic the place I’ve freedom of faith.  I’m very thankful for my spouse, for good well being, a heat secure joyful residence, my household and shut mates. The checklist might go on and on, most of all I’m thankful for all of the goodness in my life.”

Learn Extra:Hope Mills election results: Warner re-elected mayor, 2 new commissioners join the board

Mayor Jackie Warner

Jackie Warner

Jackie Warner is the mayor of Hope Mills.

“First I’m most thankful for my household and mates who’ve shared this 12 months with love and assist.  Secondly I’m thankful that the vacation spirit is actual in our group it makes every of us grateful for what now we have as a result of we share with those that have much less as a convention. Thankful that I’m Mayor of Hope Mills all 12 months however particularly at the moment of 12 months!”

Dr. Jennifer Green

Dr. Jennifer Inexperienced

Dr. Jennifer Inexperienced is the director of the Cumberland County Well being Division.

“I’m grateful for our staff on the Cumberland County Division Well being Division. It’s been practically two years since our first COVID-19 assembly. In these two years, they’ve been resilient, brave, and devoted to serving to shield our group members from COVID-19. I’m grateful to each healthcare company, group group, enterprise, and group member that has helped to guard themselves and others from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, carrying a masks, sharing their house for a testing or vaccine clinic, internet hosting a group assembly, driving somebody to a take a look at or vaccine web site, or sharing a social media put up or textual content message with credible COVID-19 info. Thanks! I’m equally grateful for my household and mates who’ve proven me an unbelievable quantity of kindness, grace, and endurance this 12 months!”

Mayor Mitch Colvin

Mitch Colvin 

Mitch Colvin is the mayor of Fayetteville.

“I’m most thankful for residing and serving in a group of compassion and resilience. We’re a Can Do Metropolis.”

Troy Williams

Troy Williams 

Troy Williams is a authorized analyst and legal protection investigator. 

“Now that I am formally a senior citizen, I’ve realized to embrace the day by day chorus: “I thank God, for religion, life, well being, and energy.” This 12 months I am significantly thankful for spending the vacation with my daughter, an solely baby, whom I’ve not seen in the previous two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m additionally thankful that our army group shouldn’t be engaged in a battle which requires a complete deployment of our troops. Most of them will spend the vacations with their household and mates. Furthermore, the pandemic is much less of a menace this 12 months than final 12 months due to the vaccinations. Thus, it’s a nice 12 months stuffed with gratitude and hope.

Learn Extra:Troy Williams: I worked as a narcotics officer in Fayetteville. I changed my mind on marijuana.

Information director Beth Hutson may be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3533.

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