11/22/07 — Wayne County residents put family, health at the top of their Thanksgiving lists

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Wayne County residents put family, health at the top of their Thanksgiving lists

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 22, 2007 8:11 AM

What are you thankful for? A new car? A new home?

Most folks interviewed Wednesday said they are mostly thankful for life, health, friends and family.

Latoya Dupree of Goldsboro has seen a lot of sickness in her family -- heart trouble and diabetes. Her grandparents died of cancer, and so did her great-aunts and uncles. And now, the younger generation is wondering who will be next.

"I'm just thankful for being alive. The Lord blessed me with another day, and I'm happy to be here," she said. "I'm thankful for family and my kids and the people I work with. I'm just happy to be alive."

Goldsboro Mayor Al King said whatever you might have, if you don't have good health, it doesn't count for much.

"You can get a new home. You can get a new car. But you can't get a new body," he said. "I advise young people to take care of the one you have."

He said he is also thankful for his blood relatives and his family in city government.

"I'm blessed to be surrounded by both, and I don't think it gets any better than that -- that and my good health."

Wayne County Manager Lee Smith is thankful, too. Thanksgiving means more to him than ever.

Most of all, he said he is thankful for his wife and children -- they are his life -- and the close friends he talks to every day.

"A house and car don't mean a thing. It's all about friends and family," he said. "We're here to comfort and help each other and other people. ... It's not all about us. It's about everybody else."

David Wilson of Goldsboro is also thankful for family. His is in Kentucky. He said he is glad to have his Goldsboro family with him this holiday season.

"I'm thankful just to be alive, to have health and strength," he said. "A lot of times, Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be the happiest times of the year, but for some people they're not, especially when they don't have their family with them."

Mattie Hartman of Pikeville is thankful for health, not because she has been sick, but because she's been blessed with good health.

"I'm able to do anything I want to, and I'm not a young person," said Mrs. Hartman, who is 70.

Glenn Hartman is also thankful for his health. He has encountered health issues in the past but has overcome them. He was disabled with back problems for six months back in 2001, and he knows what it's like to spend weeks in a wheelchair unable to lie down and sleep.

He is getting ready to turn 68, but he and his wife often hear that they look much younger than they are.

For that, they are also thankful.

"We must be doing something right," he said.

Bill Edgerton of Goldsboro has met with his share of success, too. After a career building houses, he started the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate with his wife, Jan, until they both retired recently. Habitat is now building five houses. And when they are done, the total number of houses finished since 2001 will be 26.

"There are a lot of things I'm thankful for. First of all, my wife and my church and for all the volunteers in Wayne County who work on a lot of things -- especially Habitat for Humanity," he said.

Human rights for everybody in the country tops the list for Margaret Baddour, who teaches at Wayne Community College. She and her humanities students were just talking about that.

"We were talking about the Civil War and the movie 'Glory,' and we're all thankful for the sacrifices made by those men in the first black regiment in the war so people would be more equal in our country," she said. "Everybody's talking about Iraq, but (the Civil War) was a different kind of war, a human rights war -- in our country. The 5th Regiment fought for the Union so we'd all have human rights."

For Joe Johnson, it's God he is thankful for.

"He saved a wretch like me. I was lost, and he saved me," Johnson said. "I think that says it all, except for friends and family -- and good turkey."