Giving Thanks

We say all the time that small towns and rural areas are special places. We say it so often that it can lose its meaning. What are we really saying when we repeat that line? What is it that makes small towns and rural places special?

You know, small towns and rural communities are merely a collection of buildings and open spaces. What makes them special are the people who live there.

In the last year, my family and I have lived in two different small towns. Each one was different in its own way. Yet the similarities in the way people acted have been remarkable.

One example, a neighbor, who I had only spoken to once before, stopped by for a short visit and saw the latch on our screen door was broken. Within 10 minutes he was back with a latch from his garage. He stuck around to help replace the latch even though he had other things to do.

Another example, my wife and I just had our second baby boy. We were brand new to town and didn’t know all that many people. Upon hearing our son was born, neighbors, acquaintances, and people we barely knew would stop us on the street to offer congratulations. Others brought gifts of food, and still others brought gifts for the baby.

This is a small sampling of the kindness and sense of community both of these towns displayed. I believe it is representative of small towns and rural communities across the nation, where people take the time and make the effort to know their neighbors and help each other out. That’s what truly makes small towns and rural areas special, and why we work so hard to help ensure that way of life is strengthened for the future.

On behalf of all the “new-to-town” families who have experienced such acts of kindness, I’d like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the amazing citizens of small town and rural America who have gone out of your way to make us feel welcome. We are glad to be part of your community.