The best place to live


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A few weeks ago, I was leaving Eagle River High after covering a Veterans Day event. We had just gotten the first major snowfall of the season, and I stopped along Yosemite Drive to snap some photographs of the wintry scene.

I barley unbuckled my seatbelt and reached for my camera when the first passerby stopped to ask if everything was OK. Two more quickly followed, again asking if I needed assistance.

After getting some shots of snow-covered trees, I headed back to my car. As I unlocked the door, a man in a truck offered to pull me out of the ditch he assumed I was stuck in.

As I started my car, a smile washed over my face. Where else would you find so many people offering to help a complete stranger?

While I’m sure plenty of other Americans feel the same way about their town, a state full of residents with that type of helpful attitude is rare.

And it’s something I don’t take for granted. I’m thankful each and every day to live in such a place — but especially today as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

The attitude shared by a vast majority of Alaskans — those born and raise here and transplants alike — is more unique than the mountains terrain, unparalleled beauty and summers full of light we have in the Last Frontier.

It’s also the aspect I love most about calling Alaska home. I have never met so many genuinely nice, easygoing people in one place.

When I first moved to Kenai in 2008, a coworker — whom I hadn’t even met — found me an apartment. She also gave me a kitchen table and six chairs. (My former roommate still uses the set today).

“Need help moving? Want to borrow my truck? Take a few salmon fillets off my hands.”

All pretty standard lines you’ll hear in Alaska. But nowhere else I’ve lived do people strike up conversations while pumping gas. Or chat with the checker at the grocery store.

Though that friendliness has become commonplace, I still reflect on how wonderful it is on a weekly basis.

The same is true for my job.

The Chugiak-Eagle River community is easily the best place I’ve worked. I’m always greeted with a smile wherever I go and receive compliments about the paper every week.

For that, I’m also thankful. Appreciation goes a long way in my book. Hearing a “thank you” makes the late nights and working through the weekends worth it.

The past two and a half years have been the most enjoyable of my professional career. Here’s hoping the next two and a half are even better.

So, as you sit down to shovel as much turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie that will fit in your stomach, please take a few minutes to express your gratitude to those who enrich your life. They might only be two words, but they’re an important two words.

From all of us at the Chugiak-Eagle River Star, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

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