Last month, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office held our annual Unity in the Community Barbeque. This was our fourth annual event which is designed to strengthen community bonds and allow the citizens of Dougherty County to socialize with and get to know the members of the Sheriff’s Office. It is an opportunity to share concerns and discuss how the Sheriff’s Office can better meet the needs of the people it serves. The turnout was excellent and I want to personally thank everyone who came out to support the event. I hope you enjoyed the food and the fellowship and I invite you to come back next year.
Speaking of thanks and food, this month brings one of my favorite holidays – Thanksgiving. This is a uniquely American holiday set aside as a time for us to give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. I know there are a handful of other countries that have thanksgiving-type holidays; basically harvest festivals. As far as I know, only our holiday celebrates an attitude of thanksgiving. Only ours is specifically meant to thank God for the many blessings He bestows on us.
Thanksgiving is a holiday with very deep meaning for me personally. My life has been so blessed in so many ways that it takes a special time of reflection to recount them all. I am thankful for my family, from my parents and all others who came before that created the traditions I have been taught and the values that I was raised with. I am also thankful for my siblings that helped shape both my childhood and my life, to my wife and children who have enriched my life beyond measure. Now, I even have a grandchild who reminds me that my time here is just one step in a continuing legacy.
I have been blessed in my career. I am incredibly blessed by the trust and confidence you have given me by electing me to serve you as Sheriff. I am especially thankful for the opportunity to work with the youth of our community. Every child I have encountered has touched my heart and life in a special way. In fact, I have been blessed by each assignment given to me from the moment I first came to work as a jailer in 1982. Every assignment, every challenge, and every interaction helped to shape me into the man I am today and I am thankful for every bit of it – even if I didn’t recognize some things as blessings at the time.
My sincere hope for this Thanksgiving is that every person who reads this article has the opportunity to really examine their life and recount all of the things that have turned out to be blessings. Some things are obvious, like the birth of a child or a promotion at work. Some may not be as apparent, like losing a job, which creates an opportunity to begin a more rewarding career; or an argument with a loved one that clears up an unresolved issue and brings you closer. Many blessings are hidden just beneath a thin layer of life.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in the book of 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18. Paul is exhorting the brethren by telling them to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. All of us have only one opportunity at the game called life, so remember to be thankful for each and every day that God blesses you with. Also, during this season, remember those who have lost loved ones this year and will be spending his or her first Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday alone.