The ETR Question of the Week: What Are You Most Thankful For?

We have lots of answers to this week’s question from both ETR and AWAI staff members. Their responses are still coming in . . . but here’s a sampling of what we have so far. After reading them on this special day, I hope you’re inspired to share your own thoughts with us on Speak Out.

* From Katie Yeakle, AWAI’s Executive Director . . .

“So many things . . . that my family is healthy . . . that we love each other the best we can . . . that I had as much time with my father as I did.

“that I have more balance in my life than I’ve ever had before.

“that I’m part of a company that I love . . . one that makes a difference in people’s lives.

“that I have a team of smart, creative, and caring people who show up for work each day motivated to achieve ambitious goals.

* for everything I’ve learned from Michael Masterson . . . and the opportunities he’s offered and the support he’s given me.

“some of the routines I have . . . Friday nights at Falcon House with my girlfriends, Sunday morning NY Times crossword puzzle with friends at Ciao’s . . . Sunday dinner at my mother’s house with family. (Hmm . . . these all involve food, don’t they?)”

* From Charlie Byrne, ETR’s Senior Writer/Editor . . .

“I’m most thankful for my health.

“It was 10 years ago on a spectacular April morning when I was admitted to the Imperial Point Medical Center emergency room for stomach pain.

“The diagnosis was appendicitis. I was operated on that same day.

“Complications developed with an infection, and I ended up spending over a week in the hospital.

“One day in the middle of my stay, a young man of about 25 was brought in to the bed next to mine. He looked to be healthy and happy, but he’d been admitted because he’d seen blood ‘where it’s not supposed to be.’

“It’s probably nothing, but they want to check on it,” he commented.

“We made small talk about sports, lousy food, and nurses.

“The next morning, he was wheeled out for tests and returned a few hours later. Shortly afterward, a doctor came in the room and closed the curtain around his bed.

“I overheard the conversation.

“It changed two lives.

“The healthy young man had advanced kidney cancer and the prognosis was not good.

“Later that day, family members began coming in to visit him. Tears flowed.

“The young man was taken to surgery the next day, and I never saw him again. But I did overhear nurses talking later that day.

“‘So sad.’ “I felt as if I had seen this man’s entire life . . . extinguished . . . in 24 hours.

“Later that week, when I walked out of the hospital into the warm April sunshine, I was never so thankful . . . just to be alive.”

*From Marcia King-Gamble, AWAI’s Student Services Director . . .

” I am thankful for my optimistic outlook on life. By maintaining a ‘glass is always full’ outlook, I handle all of life’s challenges. Adversity should be viewed as an opportunity, a momentary blip in ‘living.’ The choice is yours. Enjoy the life that you’ve been gifted with, or miss out on life’s little pleasures and spend your time moaning and groaning.”

* From Jon Herring, one of ETR’s staff writers . . .

“I am most thankful for the loving bonds of family. I remember coming home from college one time and telling my father about how many friends I had made and how close we had become. I told him, “Dad, these are my friends for life.”

“I still remember his words. He said, “Jon, you’re too young to realize this, but friends will come and go in your life. It is your family that will remain.”

“I have since come to appreciate his wisdom. While I do have some friendships that have lasted for a decade or more, they are very few in comparison to those who have come and gone in my life. Yet family is a continuing source of stability and support. Even the extended members of my family I still see every year or two . . . which is more than I can say for the lifelong friends I thought I had.”

* From Helen Buttery, AWAI’s Director of New Product Development

“I am most thankful this year for having found AWAI.

“A girlfriend of mine recommended I contact Katie Yeakle — because she had a position available in her company that I might be interested in. I had been a longtime employee of a direct-mail firm and was not really looking for a job. My job was routine and I knew it inside and out. But there were times when I felt like I was ‘marking time.’ Even though I was doing a good job for them and was rewarded for that, I had no real interest in the company’s products and services. I had no passion or caring for the work that I was doing.

“I called Katie and decided to meet with her. I almost cancelled my interview. I got cold feet because I had been working for my employer for a long time and felt very loyal.

“BUT — something told me to go ahead and meet with her. It couldn’t hurt to talk, right?

“Well — upon meeting with Katie, I realized that I really wanted to be working with AWAI. I’ve been with AWAI for nine months now, and I realize that you can have passion for the products and services you sell.

“AWAI provides me with the ability to see — on a daily basis — how the products that I help bring to the market are making a difference in the lives of the individuals who purchase them. I come to work with a smile on my face. I love to read the letters from the students who are discovering the way to change their life and are actually accomplishing that successfully.

“And that is what I am thankful for. To be able to recognize every day the good things that come out of my chosen vocation. To love what I’m doing and to have a passion for the products and services that we sell.”

* From Lisa Bruette, ETR’s Director of Business Development & Marketing . . .

“I’m definitely most thankful for my family and friends. I’m the oldest of six and only two of us live in Florida. This year, my sister and brother-in-law will be over to cook a pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner. My brother-in-law has added new traditions like corn pudding and key lime pie . . . but the best new addition is without a doubt my brand-new niece Ava. Joined by Adeline, her “big” sister, I can’t wait to see “turkey hand decorations” decorate our dining table and see pumpkin pie — or key lime pie (we’ll see which side of the family she takes after!) — smeared all over her face.”

* From Charles Delvalle in ETR’s Customer Service Department . . .

“I am most thankful for electricity!

“Before hurricane Frances hit South Florida, I thought of electricity as nothing more than my right in life. For example, it was my right to turn on my oven every day and cook if I so chose to do it! But it turns out losing my electricity for 2 weeks was the worst possible thing that could have happened to me.

“I was unable to take a warm shower, I had to sleep in the heat every single night, I had no computer or television. I had to find out that you can make ramen noodles with tap water! It doesn’t even have to be warm!

“But when the electricity came on again, I called out to the tired FPL (Florida Power and Light) man and gave him a huge thank you!

“I am so grateful that someone very smart thought of electricity, because my life would not be the same without it.”

* From Scott Rempe in AWAI Student Services . . .

“All right, I don’t like to say this because it always sounds so corny when I do. Here goes anyway . . .

“I am most thankful for my friends.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fairly tortured person in my own head. I have a knack for dwelling on the negative side of things and being generally moody. My friends have always been there to even out my overreactions.

“I don’t know what it is about me that gets stuck in these tailspin moods from time to time — but I have always been lucky enough to know the kind of people that can see the forest through the trees, so to speak. Whereas I tend to get hung up on a particular negative detail.

“Through my entire life, I can always trace the pieces of my happiness and my successes to the friends I have had. I have really been blessed to know some remarkable people.”

* From Barbra Hume in AWAI Student Services . . .

“I am thankful for my family. I have 3 older sisters and 6 awesome nieces and nephews. We speak to each other almost daily.

“Moving to Florida 2 years ago and leaving everyone was one of the hardest things I had to do. My sisters and my father and I all lived within a 10-mile radius. When my mom passed away in 1987, it made my family and me so much closer.

“Unfortunately, we were not a group who said ‘I Love You’ very much. It was always assumed we all knew it. But when my mom passed away and we realized we couldn’t tell her anymore how we felt, we now all
make sure that ‘I Love You’ are no longer unspoken words.

“Family love is unconditional. I am thankful to have such an abundance of unconditional love in my life!”

* From Rebecca McEldowney, AWAI’s Marketing Director . . .

“I’m most thankful for my family. Though not very large, I feel quite fortunate to have such an eclectic and supportive group of people surrounding me . . . each member providing me with insights into my own life from their personal life experiences.

“My mom has given me the spirit and confidence to approach my dreams fearlessly and live life to the fullest.

“My three aunts have taught me to always be financially independent, to laugh HARD in the face of adversity, and that a good meal and a slice of pie can alleviate most gloomy days.

“And last, but not certainly not least, my grandmother has taught me to find pleasure in even the smallest things in life (especially a good meal and a slice of pie).

“Thanks to these amazing women, I assertively step forward in life, looking to the future with excitement and anticipation about what the next chapter will bring. I am thankful to know that they will cheer me on through my successes, and help me up when I fall.”