While it’s easy to give thanks for family, friends and aspects of your personal life, it may be a little more difficult to give thanks in your work.
Depending on the job, long hours and difficult tasks can be a drag on anyone’s Thanksgiving spirit.
But whatever the job, there are those moments and accomplishments that employees can take pride in.
Running a municipality is no easy task, but even the council members, supervisors and managers of the Centre Region can find thanks in the work they do.
In Harris Township, Supervisor Dennis Hameister is especially thankful for his township, the various organizations such as the Boalsburg Fire Company and the services they offer.
“I’ve acted as a liaison to the fire company for the township for years,” Hameister said, “and it’s been a wonderful experience for the fire department and to myself and to the residents.
“Without the township’s support of the department, we’d have a totally different kind of relationship.”
It’s rare to see the type of moral and financial support the township has with the fire company, he said, adding that it’s important to make the firefighters feel important and valuable.
He also is thankful the township was able to complete a $1.6 million addition to the fire hall, he said, and is giving support in the purchase of new equipment in the coming year.
“We need to be there for the firefighters to make them feel they are a valuable asset,” he said. “And they are.”
In Patton Township, Manager Doug Erickson said he is thankful that state funding has come through for the Waddle Road project, which will expand the bridge over Interstate 99 into six-lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks.
“That’s about $12 million the state is putting in,” Erickson said. The township has already put in about $3 million in funding, but plans to recoup about half of that in the Toftrees development, he said.
The township has also received a grant from PennDOT to complete a bike path along Circleville Road, he said, and $800,000 for left-turn lanes on Valley Vista Drive.
In Ferguson Township, Manager Mark Kunkle said he is thankful for the opportunity to attend Coffee and Conversation and homeowners association events, allowing improved citizen engagement with the township staff.
He also said he was thankful for financial support from the community to launch improvements next year to the Louis E. Silvi Baseball Complex, also known as the State College Teener League Field.
More simply, he said, he is thankful for his fellow staff members who make “Ferguson Township a great place to live and raise families.”
For some municipal staff, the thanks go out to the people of their townships for the work they do in their own neighborhoods.
College Township Councilwoman Carla Stilson said she is grateful to the community members “who spend countless hours during the holiday season helping those in need.”
Similarly, State College Borough Councilman Evan Myers said he was thankful for the residents who “come forward each year and give of their time and energy to volunteer for various boards and committees or attend meetings.”
The thanks rise above the municipalities as well. Council of Governments Executive Director Jim Steff said he is thankful more municipalities are embracing the idea of working together to serve the public and save tax dollars.
For example, he said, “the borough of Bellefonte joining the regional code administration program and Benner Township renewing its participation in the regional refuse program.”
County Commissioner Michael Pipe said he is thankful for the residents of the county for coming together to address the re-entry into the community of inmates released from the prison system.
By making sure released inmates have connections to resources and opportunities when they leave helps address recidivism rates in the county, he said.
Commission Vice Chairman Chris Exarchos said he is thankful the 911 system is complete and on budget after two years of work.
He is also thankful for a block grant that provided some flexibility in the budget, allowing the county to better serve its residents, such as by adding staff to the VA and hiring another counselor for the prisons.
“With the state of the economy,” he said, “the grant lets us put more services out to the residents. We’re still able to maintain the line on taxes, but we increased the services. We’re better at this point than we were a year ago.”