Family and good friends top this year's 'thankful list' for Fairmont residents

Nov. 24—FAIRMONT — As the year winds down, Thanksgiving Day serves as a way for West Virginians to look back and take stock of those things for which they're thankful.

As the days of lockdown, social distancing and spending time apart from family and friends due the COVID-19 pandemic become a memory, many still hold their friends and family at the top of their thankful list. Others are thankful for furry families they are able to create, having a place to live or being able to receive a college education.

While the typical Thanksgiving celebration includes eating as much as you can, it also serves as a chance to reflect on little things in your life that may be taken for granted. Residents from around Fairmont shared what they are thankful for.

"I'm thankful for my apartment. I live alone and I pay for everything by myself. I wasn't in that financial position before. I'm thankful for my cats because they're my little family, since I'm in my early twenties," Sophia Shumway, Military child and resident of Fairmont, said.

Her cats are named Coconut and Bear.

Young residents seem to feel especially thankful for the ability to attend college — something that in today's society seems like a necessity, but is priced at a luxury.

"I'm grateful to have a college education. I think for as normal as going to college is, not a lot of people truly have access to that. So, I'm thankful that I have the option to get an education and have a degree," Maiya Bennett, originally from Houston, Texas, but now a Fairmont resident and Fairmont State University student said.

Other residents are thankful to have good health and a place to live — another aspect of life that seems routine, but is not something promised.

"I'm most thankful for family, health and a roof over our heads. There's a lot of people out there, especially around this time of year, that you really feel for. You see tents or sleeping bags on the side of the road and you just really feel for those people in need and realize what all you have," Drew Arnett, Fairmont resident, said.

The most common reason people expressed feeling thankful for was good friends and family. Many shared that they would not be who they are today without them.

"I am thankful for my family and friends just because I wouldn't be able to do half of the things I am currently able to do if I didn't have their support and help along the way," Natalie Teeter, from Harmon, West Virginia, said.

Christan Arnett, from Fairmont, shared similar sentiments.

"I'm most thankful for my family and friends because whenever I'm down or need help, they are there for me in ways that I just couldn't express words for. And I'm thankful for Joe'n'Throw and their coffee," Christan Arnett said.

Tuesday Brown, from Fairmont, works as a waitress at McAteer's. While she is thankful for friends and family, she added that she loves her job.

"I'm thankful for my family, great friends and a wonderful job. I love working here because it's a family-owned place with great regulars. I've waiting tables and taking care of people, I've worked here for 16 years," Brown said.

Dan Singleton, from Fairmont, added that friends and family are great company. Humans are social beings and need people to lean on.

"I'm thankful for my friends and family because of everything they do for me and being good company," Singleton said.

Many community members shared reasons that might get overlooked by others, but it's important to not take small, joyous moments of life for granted.

Around Marion County, church signs have shared a similar sayings expressing thankfulness. One of the common ones is "Happy Thanksliving" or "turn Thanksgiving into Thanksliving," which reinstates the idea of taking a moment to appreciate life.

Reach me at sshriver@timeswv.com or 304-367-2549.