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What are Salisbury, Rowan County leaders thankful for in 2020?

In advance of Thanksgiving, the Salisbury Post asked some local officials what they are thankful for this year. Their responses are as follows:

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander: Alexander said she’s thankful for the leadership of local health care and essential workers in both the city and county, the Salisbury Fire Department, Salisbury Police Department and “all of our departments that continue to serve our citizens with excellent service.” Alexander says she is also thankful her family has practiced the three Ws — waiting 6 feet apart, washing hands and wearing a mask — and avoided the three Cs — crowded spaces, confined settings and close contact with others.

Alexander also said she was thankful the City Council voted unanimously to support the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ resolution urging locals to follow the 3 Ws as the community experiences this “wave of new COVID-19 spike in cases, particularly with the holiday season approaching.”

“I am thankful for all the grants our community has received to allow wonderful projects to stay on track despite COVID-19,” she said. “I am particularly thankful for the extra $375,000 Community Development Block Grant funds that allowed us to grant funds to community partners to help with basic human needs, housing, utilities and food.”

Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds: Edds said that he is thankful for a “wonderful community” that features folks who are “kind and extremely generous.” He said that he appreciates the county’s 10 municipalities and local first responders.

“I’m thankful for those brave men and women who help keep our families safe from danger, often putting themselves in harm’s way,” Edds said.

As chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Edds said that he is grateful to the county’s employees who keep local government running.

“I’m thankful for our county employees who consistently deliver quality services all across our county,” Edds said. “And I’m thankful for our staff — our county manager, attorney, and clerk who provide stability, wisdom and sound advice to keep our county moving forward and free from controversy.”

Rowan County Public Health Director Nina Oliver: Oliver said she’s thankful for the Health Department employees and management who have put in countless hours responding to the pandemic.

“Since March 2020, staff have dedicated over 15,000 hours to the COVID crisis, along with continuing to provide health care services,” Oliver said. “I am so grateful and honored to have such a wonderful, flexible and awesome group of folks working with me.”

Personally, Oliver said she’s thankful for her mother, who watches her “funny, tender and loving” 9-year-old son and her “sassy, spunky and adventurous” 11-month-old daughter.

“The saying, ‘it takes a village’ has taken on a whole new meaning for me this year,” she said.

But she’s also thankful for random kind, supportive emails and phone calls from the community, which “revitalizes and rejuvenates the soul.”

“In a time where everyone has an opinion on how things need to be done, it is simply refreshing to hear encouragement,” Oliver said. “For this, I am grateful.

• Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody: Moody said she is thankful to work with people who are learner-centered, the opportunity to serve children and a community that supports public education.

“What really makes it different is educators willing to put themselves on the front lines for the benefit of the children that we get to serve,” Moody said. “And when I say about educators I’m really talking about our custodians, our food service workers, our teachers, our principals. I’m thankful I work for an organization that has been willing to do whatever they need to do to provide an education for our students.”

Moody said she has seen other people step up in leadership roles despite not understanding the virus yet.

Moody said on a personal level she is thankful for her family, her health and her granddaughter, who was born during the pandemic.

“I know 2020 has been challenging, but it has also come with a lot of blessings,” Moody said, adding she is also thankful for support from the faith-based community.

Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes: Stokes said he’s thankful for a supportive family.

“If I didn’t have people at home who love and support me, including a mother still in Virginia who prays for me every day, I would not be successful as the chief for Salisbury,” he said.

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding: Spalding said she is grateful for the local businesses that have invested in the Salisbury and Rowan community. She also expressed her appreciation for the chamber’s board, volunteers, members and staff.

As the holiday shopping season is poised to pickup with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday this weekend, Spalding has a message for holiday shoppers:

“Please support our local small business community this holiday season,” Spalding said.

Rep. Harry Warren, R-76: Warren said he was thankful for his support in Rowan County, which affords him another opportunity to serve on behalf of them in the state House. Personally, Warren said he’s thankful for the health of his family and friends, the work of first responders and for President Donald Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” initiative, which is working to quickly develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sen. Carl Ford, R-33: Ford said, first and foremost, he’s thankful for everything God has done for him and his family. But he’s also thankful for his family, and for the folks who voted him into office, which he doesn’t take lightly.

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Don Vick: Vick said he was thankful for all the volunteers this year, who worked “really, really hard” and were able to see “it paid off” in several races. But on a more personal level, Vick said he was thankful for his wife, Nancy, for not only dealing with the 2020 election, but also for helping him through his recovery from a stroke he endured earlier this year. He’s also thankful his son, Tyler, joined the U.S. Army this year.

Rowan County Democratic Party Chairman Geoffrey Hoy: Hoy said he was thankful for all those willing to volunteer for the local Democratic candidates this year and for the victory of some Democratic candidates across the state. He’s also thankful for the local county board of elections and others who staffed the elections, who all “stepped forward,” he said. Additionally, he expressed gratitude for the competence of the community’s local press.

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