Giving thanks

Locals share what they are most grateful for

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

While most people in Marshalltown and other parts of the country will celebrate this day by watching football, enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and eating an abundance of turkey with all the trimmings, it’s also a day to reflect upon how fortunate we are in our daily lives.

“I’m thankful for everyday. Not just during the month of November. Every day,” said Heather Baker of Marshalltown. “I have great employers, a healthy baby boy, and people who love me. We have a home to go to at the end of every day. I feel like all too often people take for granted their everyday lives, what seems mundane to some, is the world to others. I’m thankful for being lucky enough to realize that.”

Some people are thankful for the mere existence of being alive.

“I’m thankful for the human experience. For challenges that take me out of my comfort zone. I’m grateful for a few good friends, my family, and the ability to know myself,” said Kayla McGehee of Marshalltown.

Friends, family, and colleagues all play important roles in our lives.

“I am thankful for the incredibly strong women in my life,” said Nicholas Beard, art instructor at East Marshall Middle School. “My mom, my wife, and my daughter. They give me my strength. I’m so grateful to have them in my life.”

For Moon Jean Chaplin of Marshalltown, the good and the bad experiences in life have shaped her outlook.

“I’m so grateful for the programs and facilities like YSS of Marshall County who have given and continue to give so many kids like myself a chance at life,” she said. “I’m grateful for betrayal, because it taught me to be more careful and question intentions of others. I’m grateful for the small wisdom that comes with each day; sometimes it comes as a blow to the ego and sometimes it comes as a soft compliment, but it’s wisdom, so it can’t be ignored no matter how it feels.”

MHS instructor/coach Mike Loupee said, “Every day I am thankful for my beautiful family, good health, good friends, and the opportunity to teach and coach quality young people in Marshalltown.”

Mara Edler, director of the Gutekunst Public Library in State Center, is especially thankful the library’s building project is making leaps and bounds.

“My heart is so full of thanks this year that it’s nearly bursting,” she said. “I’m thankful for patient patrons and rock star staff, for brick masons and carpenters, architects and board members. I’m grateful for our many generous donors, for the children who bring in their coins so we can have a drinking fountain, and for the site supervisor who is making our dream come true (and also sometimes brings us homemade caramels). I’m very thankful to have the best job in the best little town in Iowa.”


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or