Happy holidays, dear readers! I’m thrilled to go into this holiday season with a new addition to my family, a new daughter, soon to be born as of this writing. Additions like this are big life moments but every year and every family is made up of myriad small moments that make each year special and unique. 

In this issue, we are focused on what we have to be thankful for. In our feature, we meet three of the brave souls that give up time with their families in order to keep us all safe. The life of a first responder is never an easy one and the least of all on the holidays. We salute them and hope that their shifts may fly by with nary a problem. 

For those first responders and veterans that do have some trauma, there’s the Valor Program. This program, presented and administered by Signature Psychiatric Hospital meets veterans, active duty military and first responders where they are and help them get where they want to be. With suicide rates in this population alarmingly high, this is an urgent need that we are lucky to have programming to address. 

On a lighter note, find out where you can head to shop local on Black Friday! And don’t forget that Small Business Saturday is November 24th. There’s no better way to make an impact on your community than to feed your dollars into our economy by shopping local. Want to do more? Flip to our back page where Feed Northland Kids Executive Director Christine Evans gives us some tips on being a good neighbor. 

As much as I love cooking and fussing over a full Thanksgiving table, I’m looking forward to sitting back and cuddling my newborn and my toddler this holiday season and letting someone else handle the cooking. It’s not about the food, after all–it’s about the family and friends that we have to be thankful for. I’ve been richly blessed in both and I can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with all of them, and with you. Be safe, be kind, and enjoy the season of giving, friends. I wish you the very best this November.