Thanksgiving messages from Hometown Focus staff

Audio Articles on Hometown Focus is sponsored by Rock Ridge Public Schools.

I’m forever grateful and thankful to have the opportunity to share my life through personal friendships, my family, employees, and business associates. I look forward to the new friends I meet to help make a difference in their life and enrich mine.

Hometown Focus is a multi-media network and the first free newspaper with an online edition and a mobile app in Minnesota. We are extremely thankful for the support from our contributors and advertisers in the Iron Range communities we serve.

Giving and helping those in need holds a special place in our hearts. Today (November 17) I just came back from the Salvation Army, where the Iron Range Rotary Club and others helped served over 300 meals. We have a lot to be thankful for.


As a small business entrepreneur in the new world we live in today, a vision for success is to give service above self and to never give up! We are survivors.

The priceless support we received from my mom, my dad, and our families has given us this opportunity to serve you. Together, we are the support system that makes small communities grow.

May you and your families be blessed with a happy and safe Thanksgiving. —Scott Asbach, Co-founder and COO

This past year has been a challenge. Along with some medical issues and mishaps within the family, we also had to face the tough decision that my mother-in-law was no longer able to live by herself in her own home.

It was a very emotional and trying time for all as we sought out alternatives, along with helping my mother-in-law come to terms with this major turning point in her life. There were big changes for many, and I’m very grateful for all our family members who did their best, oftentimes over and above, to make things work as well as they are.

I am also thankful for humor. Despite struggles this past year, a good belly laugh helped on many occasions. It could be over the most ridiculous things—which wouldn’t translate well in the retelling—but laughing certainly was a great stress reliever.

As quoted by author Ellen Jacob, “Whoever said laughter is the best medicine was right—it’s also the glue that holds friendships together. To laugh together at life’s ridiculous turn of events makes those events bearable. To laugh at the funny things in life makes life wonderful. The real gift is having a friend to share laughter with.” —Kirsten Reichel, Editorial Assistant/ Staff Writer

Search for Fred Rogers’ quote about looking for helpers, disregard the shockingly cynical Atlantic article about that advice, then continue reading. I am thankful for those whose words and actions make the world (or their world) a better place.

At home, I’m thankful for my wife, Ashley, who helps me cook edible meals and lets me know when I’m getting too high-strung. She helps me understand my stepson, Charlie, including how to empathize with him and how to more effectively discipline him (when necessary). Charlie helps his younger friends sit quietly in church and teaches them how to do cartwheels. Our cat, Pugsley, isn’t really helpful, but he makes us smile when he isn’t waking us up at 5 a.m.

In my community, I’m thankful for the fresh vegetables my neighbors have graciously shared with my family, for Salvation Army bell ringers, and for teachers who help children learn and succeed. I see people organize benefits and fundraisers, businesses donate to charity, and city councilors and school board members donate their time to serve fellow citizens. I also give thanks for police officers, firefighters, social workers, doctors, nurses, and mental health providers who keep us safe and healthy. —Tucker Nelson, Editor

I am thankful for science. It’s what makes

all else possible in this world, and yet we don’t often acknowledge or even notice it. Science is everywhere, all the time. Science is how we understand and explain and explore these natural processes that

occur every day.

I’ve been thinking about science more than usual this year, with all the news about science swirling about. Most of the actual news about science has been awesome— perhaps you’ve heard of this vaccine that scientists, using science, developed to help keep people from dying of a new, highly infectious disease. That vaccine was developed using the same science that runs our cars, powers our homes, and transforms a raw Thanksgiving turkey into a centerpiece of a meal, just by adding a bit of heat.

Somehow, the idea of trusting science has become a touchy one. That seems odd to me, because this is the same science that urges trees to bud out each spring, that calls garden seeds to sprout forth. It’s the same science that helped develop iPhones and insulin pumps and espresso machines.

Science is ongoing. We are always learning, always moving forward. That’s why science seems to change from year to year and even week to week—as we learn more, we understand things more fully, and we realize there is still more to question, more to learn.

I am thankful, of course, for my healthy family and happy life. That’s a given. (I’m married to a science teacher whom I love just as much as science itself.) And this year, I’m particularly thankful for the science that has made that all possible. —Janna Goerdt, Editorial Assistant/Staff Writer

There are so many people I am thankful for this year. I don’t know all of their names or where they live, I just know that they are the ones working hard to keep our country safe and our people healthy.

In my younger years, when someone asked me what I was thankful for, I would half-jokingly say, “I am thankful for air-conditioning and control top pantyhose.”

However, as I grow older and more sentimental, my wonderful family, close friends and helpful neighbors top my list of people I am most thankful for. The young ones—Aryanna, Jaxon, Odin, Emmi and Iyla—continue to bring me great joy and keep me young. And our family will be blessed again with the birth of a baby girl in March. Let the hugs and kisses begin!

As for air-conditioning, I still appreciate it on a hot day. As for control top pantyhose, they went out of style years ago. Give thanks! Sure, they made me look slimmer. But they were so darn uncomfortable. The truth: I ditched the pantyhose so I could feel free to breathe.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season, everyone! —Jill Pepelnjak, Editorial Assistant/Staff Writer

I honestly don’t know where to begin what I am thankful for. I could seriously write a book. But I guess I will start where it all started, with my beautiful, caring, humble momma, my angel in Heaven whom I miss so very much every day. Mom gave me a wonderful family of five brothers and three sisters (I’m the baby), who in turn gave me a bunch of great nieces and nephews.

Two of my brothers are with my mom so I’m sure they’re taking good care of each other and also taking care of my beautiful grandson. I am also extremely grateful for my two beautiful, loving, caring daughters and son-in-law who blessed me with the most awesome grandkids in the world. Words can’t express the endless love I have for all of them. The love and appreciation I feel from them is priceless.

I am also blessed to have a great husband who has an awesome family that I am fortunate to be a part of. Oh, one more thing, in the last year I have gained an awesome new family at Hometown Focus. —Deb Carpenter, Administrative Assistant

Oftentimes in our life, we get carried away by distractions and the rush of our daily routines. As human as we are, we have the tendency to complain more than we do give thanks. I’m thankful for my life…I’m a CANCER SURIVOR!, a loving son Zachary, my furry friend Cooper, family, great friends, and the fact that they’re all healthy!

I would like to thank our employees, carriers and content providers who do a fantastic job to bring you our community-driven weekly magazine and to all of our subscribers and advertisers to make it possible.

I am thankful for all those brave Americans who have served or are serving in the nation’s armed forces that fought to give me freedom. “Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” – Lionel Hampton —Jeff Asbach, Co-founder CEO

* * *

During this Thanksgiving time I am most thankful for being hopeful amidst the full plate of many changes and challenges that have accrued over the past few years. I am thankful for my family, my dog Bella, friends, co-workers and associates that help to keep my world in perspective which offer love, support, wisdom, kindness and laughter.

I am thankful for everyone who has helped to keep us healthy, safe and sound. And I am especially thankful for my relationship with God for having the faith which continues to keep me hopeful and most thankful for the many blessings that I have received and will continue to receive. Happy Thanksgiving. —Julie Asbach, Sales (and columnist)

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