Friday, December 30, 2011

Year-end thoughts and thank you's

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

I thought that I would share some year-end thoughts as we bid good-bye to 2011 and prepare to welcome 2012.

First of all, following a suggestion from my wife, I (we) would like to send out a thank you to everyone who took the time during this busy holiday season to decorate their home with Christmas lights.

I think that many of us take these festive decorations for granted as we drive by, casually or on a deliberate search for, houses and yards with hundreds, or even thousands, of multi-colored lights. I know that many people enjoy the task of decorating for Christmas but we should recognize that the time and expense to make a home twinkle merrily for the holidays can be a chore.

Few things say "Christmas" like driving into a neighborhood filled with homes dressed up for the season.

To each and every person and family who has taken the time to decorate, a big thank you for making our Christmas brighter. I don't know if you realize, but your efforts are a gift to the entire community.

Another year-end thank you goes out to the folks at our local sanitation departments. I could not help but notice as I made my way through neighborhoods this week that the Christmas holiday had generated quite a bit more trash that usual.

I know that these guys are "just doing their job," the same as everyone, but we all like to know that our efforts are, if not appreciated, at least recognized. I can't help but feel that as they made their way through their daily routes this week, the guys driving the trucks and the guys taking care of our trash and recyclables, as well as the guys and gals at the Miami County transfer facility, couldn't help but feel the extra weight of the holidays. (Pun intended.)

Recognition and un-dying appreciation also must go out to our police, fire and rescue personnel. While we are home with our family and friends during the holidays, these men and women are out there to watch over us. Some are full-time, some part-time and some are volunteers, but all of them stand ready to respond when and where needed.

Many of us take these men and women for granted. I suppose that is mostly because they do their job in such a manner that we just know they will be there for us in a time of need.

I was reminded of their professionalism and dedication on Christmas day when a tragic crash on U.S. 36 called emergency workers to action. Full-time sheriff's deputies and paramedics worked alongside volunteer firefighters at the crash site. One never hears someone complaining that an incident took them away from their family. Their only thoughts are of getting the job done and helping in whatever way possible.

For those of you who do not work closely with or around our Miami County emergency workers, I would like to let you know that we should feel very blessed and fortunate to have the men and women that we have on our local departments. Each and every one of them are dedicated and talented professionals. We can all sleep more soundly knowing that they have our back.

To our law enforcement officers, firefighters and medics, I offer a most sincere thank you and a "well done."

I need to remember, too, the men and women at the Miami County 9-1-1 dispatch center. Their work to organize and make sense of often chaotic and potentially dangerous situations, while seeing that help is sent quickly, goes all but unnoticed. Thank you for all that you do, as well.

All of these individuals and groups have had an effect on my life, as well as most your lives, during 2011.

I appreciate all of you and look forward to continuing to our journey in 2012.

My family and I wish all of you a very safe and Happy New Year.

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