• Laurel Contributor

A Thankful Chamber

by Donna Rhodes

While we shift into holiday mode, offering thanks in November and sharing gifts in December, we’ll bring this year to a close and welcome in the new, 2020.

There’s poetry and promise in those numbers, twenty-twenty. Double twenties are round, even, tidy. They balance each other.

In numerology, 20 denotes infinite potential. Twenties are cleanly divisible. no bothersome remainders. We who are numerically-challenged respect that 20/20 vision, literally and figuratively, is the gauge for perfect sight, hind and fore.

Being able to see things clearly is a powerful gift and it’s one Kaye McHan, Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s new Executive Director, is working toward during her tenure.

At clarity’s core is gratitude.

She says, “Appreciating our exquisite mountains, waterfalls, clean air, flora, fauna, friends, family, and commerce (the business of helping us thrive here) every year, day, hour, and moment reminds us that these precious times are granted to us. They are not to be taken for granted.“

There are many ways we already sustain and celebrate our gift. We take care of the land by leaving it the way we found it, by disposing of litter properly, by helping clean the landscape all the way down to the falls a couple of times a year. We think and plan locally while acting globally. In fact, we appreciate our little slice of heaven so much, if smiles were metered, Highlands numbers would be off the charts.

The Chamber supports these activities, for in keeping our land pristine and those grins on our faces, we attract visitors who back local events, business, and more. Our treasured residents benefit through tourists’ tax revenue, their purchases, workforce attraction, plus arts and cultural patronage. Visitors carry our Highlands inspiration and spirit home with them to entice new travelers to visit the Plateau and perpetuate the cycle that sustains us.

Whether we are workmen, artisans, retirees, residents, or entrepreneurs, we count on the Chamber to keep the wheel of local economy turning.

In closing, Chamber Board members offer these words of gratitude to their community for the exceptional contributions residents have made to Highlands.

“At the top of my gratitude list this Thanksgiving is the Chamber’s warm welcome. As their new director, I shall celebrate not only November 28th, but I’ll extend my appreciation and my reverence each and every day, for years to come.” – Kaye McHan

“I am grateful to live and work in Highlands for the special opportunities that are here. Sharing its beautiful natural surroundings, great educational choices for families and an abundance of involved and generous people that I am lucky to call my friends, Highlands is one of the finest places to live.” – Kay Craig

“The Highlands Chamber of Commerce Board is thankful for having a great community to promote, for friendly, enthusiastic business members, for natural scenic beauty, for fresh mountain air and moderate climate. For proximity to population centers in an intimate hideaway location. In short, we’re thankful that Highlands is home.” – George Powell

“I feel grateful to live in this little slice of heaven and be part of a close community of people who really care about each other, our town and our quality of life. There’s something about Highlands that just draws that type of people. We all have our individual preferences and perspectives—which makes for a fun and intriguing culture—and we all engage in our own ways around the things that really matter to us. There’s such a sense of camaraderie and common concern for our neighbors and a deep appreciation for the beauty that we live in.” – Amanda Sullivan

“Personally, I am grateful to live in a town where you can wave at people and stop on the sidewalk to chat. The events that the Chamber offers, the Fourth of July Fireworks, Halloween, the Christmas Parade, the Christmas Tree Lighting, all create great memories. It makes living here so very special. As the Executive Director of the Performing Arts Center, I consider being a Chamber of Commerce member is a good business decision. I am grateful for the continuing education workshops and seminars that are held. I am very grateful for all of the events and promotions that are done to support our local businesses.” – Mary Adair Trumbly

“I am thankful to be able to live, work and play in such a vibrant and naturally beautiful community.” – Brad Spaulding

“As board chair, I am extremely thankful for the amazing professionals that so generously give their time and talents as Highlands Chamber Board Members. I am so proud to be a part of this group that has exhibited endless dedication, passion and pure hard work on behalf of our beautiful town.” – Hilary Wilkes

“I’m thankful for the over 5,000 worldwide visitors who come to the Visitor Center every year, the over 10,000 residents and visitors who attend the Chamber sponsored events including July Fourth Fireworks, Friday Night Live, Saturdays on Pine, Halloween, Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade. And, I’m extremely grateful for the volunteers who give their time, knowledge and enthusiasm every day at the Visitor Center and at our events.” – Beverly Wichman

“I am thankful for the huge support system that is in place in Highlands. It is a place where people are committed to their friends, families, businesses, churches and community – it is a place where people go out of their way to help others. In Highlands it is the little things that become big things in our life.” – John P. Woods

“I’m grateful to live in a small town with a degree of diversity and acceptance more associated with large cities. Highlanders, I’ve found, are united less by social status, careers, and religious affiliations than they are by a common love of our quaint but sophisticated town and the natural beauty that surrounds it.” – Jack Austin

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