Area officials, leaders say what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving

Published on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:07
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Happy Thanksgiving!

As a newspaper staff, we are thankful that you continue to support us through subscribing and purchasing the print version of our paper and by visiting our websites each and every day. It takes a community to build a newspaper and we are thankful we have such a great community that supports us.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we asked a number of city and town officials and others what they are thankful for this holiday. Let us know what you’re thankful for on our New Britain Herald and Bristol Press Facebook pages.

For new Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano, it’s about optimism.

“I want to share with you the optimism that I feel,” he said. “I believe it comes from a collective sense that Bristol is a great big small town with hardworking people with a great heart. I am very thankful that the citizens in Bristol have put their trust in me. I am also thankful every day for my health, my family and my friends. My family, friends and I have created many memories in Bristol.

The mayor also looked back on his inauguration speech.

“In my inaugural speech, I referred to the Zac Brown Band song ‘Homegrown.’ The words of refrain are still resonating today, which I am most thankful for: ‘Live in a small town where it feels like home. I’ve got everything I need, and nothin’ that I don’t,’” he said.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart is thankful she gets to continue her work in the city.

“I am thankful for my family and the citizens of New Britain for electing me to another term so I can continue transforming our community into a better place for all,” she said.

New Britain Police Chief Christopher Chute is thankful for his colleagues and serving the community.

“First and foremost I am very thankful for the brave men and women who I work with at the New Britain Police Department,” he said. “They have tirelessly and selflessly served the New Britain community over the past year through a very difficult time. I am also thankful for the residents of the City of New Britain. New Britain is a unique and diverse city representing all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. It is an honor to serve such an amazing community. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and appreciate all of our blessings. Stay safe and enjoy the holiday.”

NAACP Bristol Chapter President Eric Clemons said he’s thankful for “life and health, especially with what the past year and a half has presented. However, I am most thankful that we live in a time where we appear to be socially, civically and politically ready to become more inclusive of everyone. I think despite challenges, this is good.”

President Cindy Bombard of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce is thankful for helping businesses in the area get the support they need.

“I am thankful for being a part of a wonderful organization called The Central CT Chambers of Commerce, which has allowed us to help so many businesses in the central region get what they needed to help keep their doors open and employees safe during the pandemic,” she said. “I’m also thankful for the many business friends I have met along the way, my work family and of course my family, which has allowed me the love and time to be so involved in our communities.”

Berlin Economic Development Director Chris Edge said he’s thankful “that Berlin residents and those who work in Berlin are so supportive of our small businesses.”

Berlin Mayor Mark Kaczynski is thankful to simply be able to tell us why he’s thankful this year.

“I am thankful in general for my life and my family. For me, personally, I did have a bad accident this year at work so I’m actually thankful I’m still here talking to you telling you what I’m thankful for,” he said. “I had some bruises and minor fractures, but it could have been much worse. I’m thankful because it puts things into perspective a little bit when you potentially could have been injured to the point where you couldn’t be here anymore or disabled.”

He also said he’s “thankful the town of Berlin is doing well. I know we’re still in covid, but I’m thankful that we’ve so far gotten through covid as a town and doing pretty well.”

In Newington, re-elected Mayor Beth DelBuono shared what she was thankful for this year.

“I am grateful and thankful for my family, friends and our Newington community,” she said. “I am especially thankful for all of the men and women serving now and who have served whose service gave us all so much to be thankful for.”

New Plymouth Mayor Joe Kilduff said he’s thankful to be part of the community.

“The first thing I'm thankful for is my family; my wife, my daughter and my parents who have been so supportive of me,” he said. “I try to go to work to make them proud every day. I’m also thankful that I get to call Plymouth my home. It’s a community full of amazing people and volunteers and I wouldn’t want to call any other place home. Last, I'm thankful for the great municipal employees that have all gone above and beyond to make my transition into mayor as smooth as possible. I'm especially thankful for Trish, my excellent administrative assistant.”

Bristol Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Carbone is grateful for the schools’ community.

“I am grateful for all of our incredible scholars, families and staff and how they all support one another,” she said. “Their collective belief in our schools and community enables our scholars to thrive in and out of the classroom.”

Newington Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett had positive words to share about her community.

“I am incredibly grateful for everything NPS staff has done to help us come back strong from the pandemic,” Brummett said. “It hasn’t been easy at all, but they always put students first.”

Plymouth Superintendent Brian Falcone and Southington Superintendent Steve Madancy shared similar sentiments.

“With Thanksgiving approaching, I am thankful for the continued support of our school community,” Falcone said. “While this has been a challenging year in many ways, I have seen our parents, community members, faculty and staff come together in the best interest of our students. Thank you for assisting us in providing the best possible learning experience for your children.”

Madancy said he’s “thankful to be able to lead a district in a time when our staff, students and families rely on us being our best everyday despite the challenges we are all dealing with in daily life.”

Plainville Superintendent of Schools Steve LePage said it has been challenging in his position to navigate the pandemic.

“At a time where superintendents face one challenge after the next, it can be hard to focus on things we are thankful for,” he said. “When I take a moment to pause and reflect, I am thankful for my health, my family who are still with me and those who have passed and remain very close through my memories. I am thankful to have the opportunity to lead our Plainville Community Schools, full of amazing children, families and dedicated staff.”

He added he’s hoping for a “return to more normal times.”

“Until then, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue leading our schools, in partnership with our Board of Education, administrative team and all of our town partners who help to make Plainville a special town.”

For Plainville Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese, she recognized we’re still fighting through a pandemic.

“The past 18 months have been enormously difficult for all," she said. “This year I am forever thankful for health and happiness for my family, friends and our community.”

Southington Town Manager Mark Sciota is thankful for those that make the town a great place to live.

“Of course, I am thankful for my family and friends, but I am also thankful for my hardworking town employees, who do incredible things on a daily basis, and for all of the town volunteers, both in and out of government, who truly make Southington the great town it is,” he said.

Berlin Town Manager Arosha Jayawickrema is thankful for his co-workers.

“I am thankful that I get to work with a dedicated team at the Town of Berlin who give their very best each day to serve this wonderful community,” he said.

Berlin Town Council members Mike Urrunaga and Peter Rosso expressed what they are thankful for as well.

"I am truly thankful for a prosperous and caring Berlin, a healthy and thriving family and the great things that are to come for all of us,” Urrunaga said.

“Enjoying the holidays together with family is most important to me. What I am most thankful for this year is, because of the vaccine, we can once again get together with our friends and families to celebrate the holidays. It was at the high point of the pandemic that we didn't know if we would ever return to life as we knew it, let alone to see some of our relatives ever again. So let us remember any relatives no longer with us and celebrate those of us who have survived. Hopefully we can enjoy Thanksgiving the way we used to with our loved ones, break bread and pray we are spared from this insidious disease,” Rosso said.

Southington Town Council Chair Victoria Triano said she is “thankful to God for all of the blessings I have received over this past year. For my wonderful family and friends, for my church, and the blessings of Southington, and the great honor in serving Southington’s citizens. It’s hard to express without getting emotional, but I am truly blessed.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington Herald, Terryville on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:07. Updated: Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:09.