Community Blessings 2017

I thank God for the opportunity to take this amazing journey; though it is fraught with trials and tribulations, the road reveals amazing friendships and fellowships along its route. I pray that I have the energy, resolve and wisdom to continue to share those travels with those who are close and those who seek knowledge and understanding which to many seems to have been lost, for many years to come.
Though God gave me this opportunity, it is the love, support and understanding of my family and friends that has in reality made it all possible.
For that, I am  truly thankful.
— Whyat S. Ocumpaugh


I am thankful for Tanya McNelly at Burlap and Lace Boutique in Creswell.
When I first started my small business, The Pink Pinecone Studio, I was trying to figure out where I could sell my handmade goods. A friend of mine shared with me that a new little boutique was about to open in Creswell and the owner was looking for vendors to join the shop. I had never been a vendor at a shop before and at the time I had little experience in retail either.

When I contacted Tanya McNelly about becoming a vendor she was just the sweetest person to talk to. I could tell right away that I wanted to join her store. Although she was a bit hesitant about whether my handmade baby goods would be a good fit for her vintage boutique, she decided to take a chance on me anyway.
That was over three years ago! This month, we had our fourth annual Christmas event at the shop and I am proud to say I have been there since day one. Tanya is a good friend of mine now. I am thankful for all that I have learned from her, and I know that being a part of her sweet little shop has given me the experience to open up more doors for my little handmade business and helps me to feel connected to our wonderful little town.
I’d like to give a big thank you to Tanya McNelly for taking a chance on me. She has truly blessed my life with her friendship and her beautiful little boutique!
— Sara Baker


I am grateful to be alive, breathing, and able to appreciate this incredible experience we call life with so many others living on this planet in the same timeframe.
Happy Thanksgiving to us all, and let’s make it as good as it can be!

— Stevie Lindh



It’s been said that adversity will make us stronger, or something to that effect. I’m not sure about the stronger part, but I believe that adversity has made me more thankful for the people and opportunities I have in my life.
Velvet and Alex have done so much for me that mere words cannot express my gratitude. They lifted me from an entirely overwhelming situation to make my life so much more manageable and fulfilling. Velvet arranged my care, made appointments and generally ran the show from Southern California. They have shared the sweetest little person I’ve ever known with me, who has become my best buddy in the world. At 4 years old he told his dad, “Grandpa Curt loves me, and I love him” — truer words were never spoken.
I’m so very thankful for my darling companion Sue. When I got sick she was right there on the front lines, ferrying me to appointments, using her vacation time to do it. She helped make sense of what was going on in that very scary time in my life. She made sure I didn’t go without, always putting my needs before hers. Velvet and Sue literally saved my life on several occasions.
I’m very thankful for my mom and siblings who pitched in, each in their own special way, to  make my life more comfortable. Aunts and uncles and numerous cousins have been most supportive and helpful as well.
In the course of conducting business for the past 30 years, many customers have also become friends. I’m so thankful to friends who call and stop by to check up on me. Those visits and calls do so much to lift my spirits. I’m also thankful for the staff at The Chronicle for not giving up on me.
I’m extremely thankful for the entire medical staff at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. As a group, they are the most caring group of people I’ve ever encountered. They continue to amaze me with their skills and compassion. I’m also very thankful for Opdivo.
About a year ago, Sue asked me what I wanted for Christmas. After some thought, I told her I wanted one more day. One more day to spend time with my family and friends. Of all that I am thankful for, I’m most thankful for “one more day.”

— Curt Deatherage
Chronicle Columnist, “It Happened in Oregon”

In my everyday life I am most grateful for the smiles that come from friendly faces in my community. It is a great reminder that we are all in this crazy life together!

— Susan Bennett

Creswell Real Estate Agent


Wow, what a question. Oddly enough, I’m most thankful that as of today, Nov. 17, 2017 I’m still in business. I made a call to my CPA back in December asking, “How do you know if you’re bankrupt?” 2016 was a tough year for Creswell Coffee, but neither Melissa or I want to do anything else for a living. We love how connected we are to this community and to fold up shop would have been a painful life experience on so many levels that neither of us were willing to throw in the towel. Thank God, and thank our customers, team, friends and family that we get to live out each day in such a fun little spot. Life is good — spread the love.

— Seth Clark

Creswell Coffee


Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving. I want to express my thanks to my family: My wonderful husband, Al, of 31 years — he encourages me to be a better person with love and support; and my daughter, Bailey, who continues to amaze me with her determination, intelligence and humor.

I am also thankful for the community of Creswell. You welcomed us the moment we came here almost 25 years ago. We’ve seen this community come together on many occasions and for many causes, helping one another in sometimes very small and sometimes very big ways. Thank you, Creswell — you will always be “The Friendly City” to us!

— Tamara Blum

Creswell Chiropractic



I believe practicing gratitude every day is essential for true happiness. I try really hard to find some good in even the most difficult life problems (“Dear God, today was really frustrating because of… but I am so thankful for…”). Every night before we eat, my family and I say a prayer of gratitude (even though sometimes we really just want to skip grace and dig in!). But, mean ol’ Mama that I am, I always insist that we can wait and give thanks to God first.

This Thanksgiving, my family and I are grateful for: our family near and far, our friends, our community of caring individuals and groups, our teachers, our jobs, bosses and coworkers, the problems we face that make us stronger, the sun and the rain, the farmers who grow our food, the earth that feeds us and all of God’s blessings.

We practice gratitude every day, and we are happier for it! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I hope you find lots to be thankful for.

— Emily Horton

Creswell Library Assistant and Creswell Farmers’ Market Manager



I am very thankful to have moved my family to such a great town. Moving from Florida to the Pacific Northwest was quite the change for us, but after residing in Creswell for officially a year we have experienced such a fun and welcoming community! From the festive Fourth of July hometown parade and memorable solar eclipse, to the colorful fall we’ve had, we are so blessed to reside in the City of Creswell.

— Wendy Vandersys


On behalf of myself and the Lane County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to work in the City of Creswell, we are very thankful for the positive reception we receive every day from the citizens we serve. There is not a day that goes by that we do not receive multiple waves and hellos from people we pass. This is not something that occurs in any other location within the County.

We are thankful for the community involvement and assistance in solving public safety issues and identifying crime. We are thankful that many of you take a personal interest in us and are willing to trust us with your safety.

Thank you, Creswell for your continued support.

We hope that all of Creswell has a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. And GO COWBOYS!!!

Sergeant Scott Denham

Deputy Bryan Holiman

Deputy Levi McKenny

Deputy Derek Bastinelli


I’m truly blessed in so many ways. I’m both grateful for and proud of my family. I’m thrilled with all the new friends I’ve made in this delightful little town. My old friends continue to amuse and support me.

I’m incredibly grateful for my good health and vitality, due to my devotion to aquaerobics and Carol Clark, who encourages me. Retirement continues to baffle and excite me, although I’ve started a new venture.

Living in a community where a few very devoted, strong people represented us to victory, I’m so proud to live in a community that bands together to stand up for what is right. I’m grateful to live in a safe, family-oriented city that is devoted continual improvement while preserving the past.

— Laurel Henry


My true thanks goes to my parents. They raised me with good genes — i.e., respect for people, to help people or animals — and after 62 years, I still have that to be thankful for.  Right now, this week, we have helped with a homeless man in Thurston area who lives on the streets — met him through his cats, of course.  We helped a man and his mom get moved into this trailer park here in town, pulling LOTS of red tape to get them in; they both have heart issues, so we are thankful that we are able to help. I take a lady to the Food Pantry in town once a month, who is in a wheelchair and has no car.  Al volunteers with Helen H. and her group on Mondays helping people.

I would be MORE thankful if folks took proper care of their kids and animals and if our city administration and deputies showed a bit more compassion.

— Kathleen January


There is so much to be thankful for! We live in a community that stands together in morality! Thank you, Creswell! I am thankful for everyday life. I am thankful for my family. We have six talented children, an amazing granddaughter and a second grandbaby due in the spring!

I am thankful for the fall colors, the beautiful lush green and the joy of rain that helps everything grow. I am thankful for a home to live in and food on the table to share. I am thankful for family gatherings! I am grateful to have had another year to spend with family and friends!

I hope that each of you can take a moment out of your busy lives to share with one another the things that you are thankful for! Thank you, Jesus for all that you have blessed me with!

— Tammie Newell


I have much to be grateful for at Thanksgiving and all year long. At the top of my list is this: that there is a God who loves me, and each one of us, so very much. A favorite Scripture puts it this way: “The Lord says, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Next on my list of blessings is my wife of 37 years, Jocelyn. I am thankful for having two amazing children, a host of fantastic friends, the opportunity to serve my hometown, the privilege of teaching piano to young and old, and the joy of living in the beautiful Willamette Valley. Life is good!
— Dave Stram

Mayor of Creswell


I am thankful for traditions. Every year my family meet up at my Papa’s house for Thanksgiving. We all have our own signature dish that we make, and it’s an unspoken rule that what we bring can’t be store bought.

I love arriving at Papa’s house and walking into the warm, open house and getting swept along in the business of chatting, cooking and taste-testing. My little cousins come in ready to wreak havoc and get the rest of us to join in. We are a big, mismatched family that fits perfectly, and I am thankful for them and the traditions that bring us together during the holidays.

— Emma Holmberg




I’ve been asked to write of the things I am thankful for in a few paragraphs.  That’s a tall order, since I’ve felt truly blessed throughout my life.

Always, at the top of my list is how thankful I am for family. I grew up surrounded with the love of my parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family. I’ve had the love of my husband of 53 years who has allowed me to stretch my wings and try new things through the years. And, I bask in the love and pride of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I am so thankful for the friends I’ve made over the years, even if we are separated by distance and/or our busy lives. I always know that all I have to do is reach out.

I am thankful for my community and a foundation of “home” where I have allowed my roots to grow deep. None of us can prosper and grow in isolation.  

Lastly, I am blessed with the ability to believe in and have a personal relationship with a kind and caring God. He has provided me with enough trials and tribulations that I have not taken life for granted, and he’s allowed me to appreciate the good things in life and gain the confidence to occasionally step out of my comfort zone, to learn to grow and attempt new things.

— Pat Edwards

Chronicle Columnist, Sweet Lorane Community News


Since moving to Creswell in April of 2013, I have been very thankful to the City of Creswell for supporting and guiding me with my dream of starting an after-school program for school-aged children so that they have a safe place to go after school.

The first year 25 kids enrolled. Our second year started Tuesday, Oct. 3 and we are off to a good start. The program operates on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and follows the Creswell School District calendar.  There is no charge for the kids to attend.

The city has been very generous by purchasing “Flying Turtles,” as well as anonymous donors purchasing “ponies” from last year’s Creswell Chamber of Commerce Banquet for the kids to ride and bounce on.  Lastly, a HUGE thank you to the volunteers who have helped with supervising the “Cobalt Kids.”

— Linda Warner




As Fire Chief for SLCF&R, I am thankful we did not experience the devastation and loss of life witnessed by the world and some of us firsthand this wildland season. We should all be thankful it did not happen here. In being thankful, I do realize if the conditions were right, it very well could happen here. Sonoma and Napa Counties looked like a war zone following the fire storm, and it made me realize how fortunate we have been in our area, and in Oregon, to not have thousands of structures lost to wildfire. I am thankful more people weren’t killed or seriously injured given the magnitude of the fire storm. Most of all, I am thankful we all made it back safe.  

— John Wooten

SLCF&R Fire Chief



I am thankful that I have been able to live in Creswell for much of my life. It fits me; I’m a small-town “girl.” I like to run into friends most any time I go to town. I like that people get involved in their community. I like that traffic is still manageable. I like that family is nearby. (I‘m thankful my mom is still living at age 94.) I like that I can live where it is quiet. And, yes, I like that I can share my life with a sweet little dog who makes me laugh.

— Carol Campbell


I am thankful for our parents and guardians for having faith in Creswell School District and sending us their amazing children. Our students come to school with a diversity of talents, personalities and accomplishments, and they give us a daily reminder of what is important and why we are here. Thank you, parents and guardians, for your ongoing commitment to ensuring your children’s success.

I am thankful for our community members for engaging with us through strong community service and partnerships. Support for Creswell School District brings opportunities that take us beyond our means. Groups such as, but not limited to: School Board, IRC Project, Creswell Education Foundation, Family Relief Nursery, United Way of Lane County, Mayor and Council, City of Creswell and Creswell Library provide almost limitless passion, commitment and support. Thank you, community members, for your continuous demonstration of time, energy and generosity.

I am thankful for our Creswell School District staff for their daily commitment to preparing students for success. They mold our future citizens through guidance and education, and work with students at all levels with widely different backgrounds. Thank you, Creswell School District staff, for spending countless hours preparing lessons, cooking meals, driving busses, keeping our schools clean and safe, and caring about our students.

Finally, I am thankful for being a part of the Creswell School District – a great place to learn and work. I send you best wishes for a holiday weekend filled with family, friends, love and laughter!

— Todd Hamilton


Creswell School District


I am thankful to all who support our community food pantry: local business owners, individuals, farmers and gardeners, the City of Creswell and those who take part in the food drives. I am grateful for the 16 outstanding volunteers who transport food, stock the shelves, help our shoppers and are willing to roll with it when we are short staffed. Lastly, I appreciate that I have a paid job schedule that allows me to volunteer.

Susan Blachnik



I am thankful for the Creslane IRC Reading Program volunteers who work every day in 16 classrooms helping almost 400 children learn to read. This gift of time and caring will last a lifetime for these elementary school children.

Laurie Swanson Gribskov



I have much to be grateful for in my life, especially my wife and best friend, Donna, and our three-legged cat, Rafael.

— Yaakov Levine

Chronicle columnist,  Nutritionally Speaking


I’m thankful that no matter what happens to us in this life (I lost my wife of 35 years unexpectedly two years ago), we have a God who loves us. Life gives us many joys, but sorrows too. I’ve found it’s best to focus on the beauty in what we do have. Some can’t walk. Some can’t see. Some are destitute. Some are lonely. But regardless what you don’t have, count your many other blessings that Jesus has provided. Life is not about things, prestige, fame, popularity, politics or money but about serving the God who made us and loving those we are in contact with. Knowing that centers our perspective each day.

— Bruce Berg

Photographer, Bruce Berg Photography


What I’m thankful for:
Being another year older and still in excellent health;
Being retired and waving to friends on their way to work;
Being able to volunteer for things I enjoy doing as opposed to having to do.
Being financially secure for a few more years, I hope;
Being able to still sing and joining Creswell’s wonderful community choir;
Being able to accept Creswell for what it is and isn’t;
Being able to accept the fact that I’m too old to move again;
Being able to finally realize that while the grass may look greener elsewhere it isn’t;
And of course the many friends I’ve made who accept me as I am, warts and all.
— MaryAnn Howard


So the question is, “What if our tomorrows were determined by what we thanked God for today, what would we do; what would we say?”

Ephesians 5: 15-20 says, “So be careful how you live, not as fools, but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Psalm 126:1 instructs us to give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Every verse that follows tells us to give thanks for His mercy or faithful love because it endures forever. So an attitude of gratitude lifts us up and can travel through eternity, where an attitude of grumbling and despair only drags us down to the pit.

As I am thankful to God always and in every situation I face. He controls my destiny and for that I am truly grateful and His mercy endures forever.

— Pastor Herb Newell



I am thankful year-round for friends, family, home and good health.  This year I find that what also comes to mind is that I am thankful that I live in Creswell. My move here 22 years ago could almost be attributed to throwing a dart at the map. We didn’t know anyone here or anything about the town except its location on the map. I am thankful for all the people I have met over those years and the experiences and opportunities I have had. What a lucky dart-throw that was. We hit the jackpot!  I am thankful to be a part of Creswell, the Friendly City.

Verlean McCoy


Nighttime comes earlier here than it does in Texas! Mountains rise right outside the back door. Rain falls at a steady pace – no gully-washers. Creswell living certainly differs from Fort Worth! But the South holds no advantage over our town when it comes to the things for which I am most thankful.

My first big event, back in 2011, was the Fourth of July Parade. I didn’t realize that many of those participants would become dear friends, working alongside each other, by the hundreds, to renovate homes and restore hope to their fellow community members. The first person from Creswell to shake my hand would, just a short while later, become our mayor. He took a contentious political culture and led the way into an era of the community working together to solve problems and plan our future.

The first day I walked into our elementary school I knew nothing of the thousands of hours volunteers would soon spend teaching children to read. I didn’t know that nearly 200 children would get Christmas presents, each year, because fellow citizens loved them and wanted them to experience joy during the holiday season. I didn’t know the elementary school children that now run to introduce their parents to me. I wasn’t aware that soon after-school programs would rise at the Cobalt building and at our schools in order to assist families with small children.

As I watched all those people at the parade back in 2011, I didn’t realize they would show their personal integrity a few years later, during our recent elections, and that they would do it without the terrible name-calling and put-downs that have plagued our national politics.

Just a few years ago I’d never heard of Creswell. I didn’t know you. But, outside my own family, you have become the greatest blessing of my life. I’m thankful for… YOU!

— Doug Allison