Capital Region

Capital Region community members give thanks


We’re not out of the woods yet on COVID-19, but we still have plenty to be thankful for this year. For many, this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations will be especially sweet, bolstered by the gratitude that comes with the absence of contact for so many of us for so long.

To mark the holiday, our reporters fanned out in the community to ask what some of you are thankful for this holiday.

Some are grateful for good health, an appreciation deepened by the tragic loss of life during the pandemic. Others are especially thankful for loved ones, bonds deepened in the struggle and solitude of quarantine. Still others are thankful for simpler things, from quiet walks in nature to the kindness of strangers.

So whatever it is that you’re thankful for this year, embrace it. And Happy Thanksgiving.

CHAD ARNOLD/THE DAILY GAZETTE Helena Roman, 47, Schenectady

“I’m thankful for my new home. I just recently moved up here from Queens. I had put in for different things over the years, and I put in for an apartment up here and I got it within a matter of months. I had just been praying on it, so I was just so thankful. Since I’ve been here, it’s been a blessing. Just being able to take part in the different community activities … that was something I didn’t see growing up in the inner city.”

— Helena Romain, 47, Schenectady


CHAD ARNOLD/THE DAILY GAZETTE James Tillery, 68, Schenectady
“I’m thankful just to be here because I’m a diabetic, and due to my insurance and everything, I didn’t have coverage for a while. I didn’t have my medicine and I got sick. Doctor told me I needed to lose some weight; I was 280, now I’m down to 230. My diabetes is under full control. I have my insulin and all the medicines I need to take. I’m just thankful that he gave me a second chance to do the right thing. I’m a recovering addict. I’ve been clean for 13 years, eight months and 18 days. I’m just blessed all the way around, and I get a chance to help people and show them that it can be done.”
— James Tillery, 68, Schenectady, works at City Mission
CHAD ARNOLD/THE DAILY GAZETTE Raeesa Waheed, 39, Niskayuna, helps run family’s restaurant, Taj Mahal

“Health and family, because during the pandemic I decided to leave New York City and move back home to be closer to family just because I was so worried about how it might turn out for us in the city. I’m just grateful that we made that decision and now I’m able to be closer to my parents, my sisters, my nieces and nephews. … It’s just been a very positive change to move back here to Schenectady. I’m very happy I did it.”

— Raeesa Waheed, 39, Niskayuna, helps at Taj Mahal Restaurant in Schenectady

CHAD ARNOLD/THE DAILY GAZETTE Christine Barton, 70, Schenectady

“I wish I could say that I’m thankful that it’s [the pandemic] coming to an end. I think we’re coming to another tunnel, but we’re getting there and things are feeling a little bit more normal. I’m really thankful because my whole family is going to be together this Thanksgiving. Bigger than growing up. So I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve got a sister moving here from Minnesota and my daughter’s coming. So just having my family, and everyone’s healthy.”

— Christine Barton, 70, Schenectady

BRIAN LEE/THE DAILY GAZETTE John Michaud, 22, of Gansevoort, a laborer

“Having a job and not just chilling at home, doing unemployment, getting that free money. Working for my money.”

— John Michaud, 22, Gansevoort, laborer

BRIAN LEE/THE DAILY GAZETTE Barbara Frank, 60, of Saratoga Springs, wine consultant

“For my family and good health. That’s it. It’s been a rough year for everyone with COVID and the pandemic, and I’m very grateful for my family and that we’re all well.”

— Barbara Frank, 60, Saratoga Springs, wine consultant

“At this moment, being out in nature. I guess I’m thankful for a fresh start this year — a little bit of a fresh start, stepping back. I’m on a temporary union layoff, so it’s nice to have a little free time to reassess things. It’s a little bit of a hit to the pocket, but it’s definitely a blessing for the mind.”

— Eric Edwards, 46, Saratoga Springs, electrical union worker

BRIAN LEE/THE DAILY GAZETTE Alexa Benware, 21, of Saratoga Springs

“The ability to visit my family this year. They live in Massachusetts, so I get to travel to see them. I haven’t seen my family in three years, and then the pandemic happened.”

— Alexa Benware, 21, Saratoga Springs, works at Impressions of Saratoga and Dark Horse & Mercantile

BRIAN LEE/THE DAILY GAZETTE Sher-Ron Jones, 53, Latham, a silk presser

“I’m thankful for my girlfriend, who I met in March.”

— Sher-Ron Jones, 53, Latham, silk presser

BRIAN LEE/THE DAILY GAZETTE Jessica Loucks, 38, of Glens Falls, works at Eddie Bauer in Saratoga Springs

“Really nice customers. With everything going on and the shortage of people and staff, it’s great to have customers that are patient and kind and just really understanding if we can’t get to them immediately. Very thankful for that this year. And family, of course.”

— Jessica Loucks, 38, Glens Falls, store manager Eddie Bauer, Saratoga Springs

Categories: Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna


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