The theme of this issue, thankful, has taken on a new meaning for me this year. I’m not sure how many of you read this letter each month, but I hope this one makes you smile.

Thanksgiving has always been a big deal in my family. Between my mom and dad, I have 14 aunts and uncles! I spent an idyllic life enjoying many holidays with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

While my parents came from large families, they decided I would be their only child, much to my disappointment. You see, I always wanted a sibling. Remember Sally Struthers asking viewers to adopt children in other countries? I always wanted my parents to adopt one of those kids. I yearned for a big brother who would be my hero, a sometimes pain in the butt and someone I could always count on.

Dad passed in 2002 and Mom in 2009. Thankfully I had my husband, Jim, my kids and extended family to get me through the loneliness of being an “orphan.”

Recently, I learned I had a brother who had been adopted in 1960 but didn’t know much else about him. Jim and I submitted our DNA to find out about our heritage several years ago on Ancestry.com, and I thought I’d give it a shot and check my DNA matches. Much to my delight, a close match popped up, and I found my brother, Bill! He has a family with a beautiful wife and three gorgeous daughters! Now I’m a SISTER and an AUNT and a SISTER-IN-LAW—and all that comes with it!

This year, I am thankful for many things—my family, this magazine, our community—and I’m very thankful for finding my brother! And yes, we will have a huge Thanksgiving holiday meal with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, and Bill and his family too!

As you read through the stories in this issue, remember our first responders, many of whom will not be with their families over the holidays. We also profile two amazing friends who have made a real difference in the fight against cancer, as well as the local charities that always need our help. And remember to think local when you are hitting the sales on Black Friday! Local businesses are what make our community thrive.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! I hope you have a wonderful holiday spent with those you love.

See you around town!

Peggy Garner, publisher