As a new year begins, I am reminded of all the hope a new year offers. Nevermind the regrets of the past, the missed opportunities or the things left undone that we cannot change. But, instead, look ahead with courage to make better choices and look for opportunities to make a difference. Gratitude is the word that is at the top of my list this year. To be more appreciative and thankful with gratitude for living in Dalton/Whitfield County, USA.
I am grateful for:
• A community where we can choose to live with the knowledge that we have great public servants who care for our safety and well being. At a recent Rotary Club of Dalton program., our club recognized the best of the best at the Dalton and Whitfield County police and sheriff’s departments, fire departments and emergency personnel. We saluted individuals whose bravery, courage and support could be repeated throughout each of these departments and agencies because of the quality and devotion of the men and women who serve us so well. When we are in need they are there to serve us.
• A place to call home because of the many fine people who live here who volunteer and assist, lead, support and care enough to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Thankful for all our military, retired veterans and Bitsy McFarland of Rotary Club along with many volunteers who put up the American flags at the courthouse and again take them down on our official holidays. Salvation Army and its staff and passionate volunteers like Bill Bowen who rally the troops around town to “Ring the Bell”; thankful for Roy Johnson and his staff and family and all that Providence Ministries provides our citizens who need a helping hand; thankful the many churches and their outreach programs like DOC-UP that extend their Christian assistance in times of great need; thankful for the community-wide Christmas giving program that in its second year has successfully made Christmas available to thousands of families in our area; and yes, thankful for a mayor and city council who made the new community center a reality to bring renewed hope to our citizens with a facility that is full with energy and possibilities for better health, learning, recreation and creating a better quality of life for our citizens.
• Grateful for the many organizations and agencies that lift our citizens up with support from dedicated volunteers at the United Way of Northwest Georgia, the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, The GreenHouse, Compassion House, Family Support Council, Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, Archway and those who volunteer at Hamilton Medical Center, our regional library, Humane Society and those who preserve our legacy at the Historical Society, Northwest Georgia Junior Achievement, the “Dancing Stars of Dalton” event put on by the local Alzheimer’s Association, and the list goes on and on because we are a caring community.
• All the many good things that are Dalton: The Daily Citizen, the local radio stations, the Catamounts, Dalton State College (and very soon the Roadrunners), our Hamilton Medical Center, Bradley Wellness Center, recreation department, Creative Arts Guild, all of our wonderful theater groups and our local restaurants that provide us with great food, a friendly atmosphere with smiling faces and the best part is we don’t have to leave town for good food.
In the new year try and become more engaged and a more active participant in our community. Raise your hand and volunteer, get involved, speak up and speak out, find your passion and be a part of a greater good.
I’m grateful to be a member of this community.
Dixie H. Kinard is a Dalton resident, businesswoman and community volunteer.