Unionville: so many reasons to give thanks

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Thanksgiving thoughts focus on the people that make this community special

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
It’s hard not to live and work in Unionville and be thankful for so many things. It’s not that we are better, but maybe that we have it better and seem to realize it and do the little things that make this a special community.

With that thought, I decided to list in no special order some of things that I am thankful for when it comes to Unionville on this Thanksgiving. I’m sure I’ll miss a few things, so feel free to add your comments and thoughts to the bottom of this story.

I’m most thankful for the people of Unionville. Whether I’m speaking with them at a school board meeting, grabbing a cup of coffee at the Landhope or coaching the young teammates of my son or daughter, the people here are smart, passionate and engaged. We don’t always agree about everything, but people here don’t sit on the sidelines. When someone needs help, the folks in the community respond. So my friends, neighbors and the people of Unionville are a big part of what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Without doubt, I am thankful for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. Between my stepsons and now my fourth-grade twins, I’ve had a child or step child in this district continually since 1999. In good times and bad, the district has excelled and provided an exceptional education. While we may not always agree with all its decisions or some, shall we say, curious methods when it comes to communications with the media and public, I am thankful for a school administration that first, last and always has the education of our kids as its highest priority. I am especially thankful for Dr. Andrew McLaughlin — only because as my kids’ principal, he has helped to create an environment of fun, passion for learning and family that my kids are so lucky to enjoy. I’m sure the parents of students at the other five schools feel the same way about their principals and schools, with good reason, but I can only speak to my own experience.

I am also thankful for the patient, dedicated work of our teachers — regardless of how you might feel about the current contract situation, and regardless of what constitutes a “fair” pay rate in terms of we taxpayers — there are no more valuable group of professionals anywhere. I am also thankful for our school bus drivers as a group, and Mrs. Carr, the only drive my twins have ever known. I am thankful that these trained professionals are more than just drivers, but extensions of the educational system, serving as everything from a shoulder to cry on to a trusted friend for thousands of students. I am thankful for them and their special place in the school district.

And yes, even the members of the school board — a number of whom I’ve gotten to know, like and respect in my work — are something to be thankful for. Again, we might not always agree with them, but I think they are caring and concerned folks spending a lot of time away from their families to make sure we have the best possible school district without forgetting that someone also has to pay the bills at the end of the day. I am thankful for those who have that perspective.

I am also thankful for the local elected officials I write about virtually every day. Few of them enjoy much in the way of financial compensation, but spend countless hours every  week working to make their communities a better place. In this time of polarizing politics, we sometimes forget about these folks who do the heavy lifting of government without a spotlight, just a passion to make things better. I am thankful for them, each and every one.

I am thankful for the Unionville Recreation Association. There are no better group of people I have ever had my fortune to be involved with — dedicated, caring people who work tirelessly to make the lives of our kids better. My small contributions, a few hours a week coaching, pale in comparison to so many others who keep the organization running, day in and day out. I am so thankful for them.

The same holds for the members of the Longwood and Po-Mar-Lin fire companies. Day or night, blistering summer heat or three-foot snow drifts, these volunteers come out to help those most in need at the moment they need it. I am thankful for them and hope you join me in writing a generous check to either or both organizations to make sure these folks can continue to keep us safe.

This list could go on — including the people behind the Unionville Fair, the Willowdale Steeplechase, those working to preserve open space, clean water and air, the Brandywine River Museum and dozens of local businesses who give back to the community each and every day, in small ways without seeking publicity because it’s the Unionville way.

Lastly — aside from my patient and wondrous wife, Stephanie, my step sons Eddy and Greg Foster and my twins, Kenny and Janet — I am thankful for you, people interested enough in their hometown and the world around them to be reading this.

To all who make Unionville, well, Unionville: Happy Thanksgiving.

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