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Thanks ‘giving’ contest honors unsung heroes

Article Date: 
29 November, 2013 (All day)

At Thanksgiving time, we often think about things we are grateful for in our lives.  Being thankful is a wonderful thing, but the best way to show gratitude is to focus on the “giving” in Thanksgiving.  
The staff at The Morgan County News decided to focus our Thanksgiving edition on residents who have selflessly given their time, money or support to help Morgan be a better place.
We asked Morgan residents to submit a paragraph and help us reward the unsung heroes in the area.  Each person featured in the tributes below will receive a year subscription to The Morgan County News.   
Submitters were entered into a drawing for a Thanksgiving craft from Morgan Valley Crafts and the winner was notified by phone.
If you see the following people, please let them know how much they are appreciated!
 
Shannon Barker, submitted by Katie Mecham
Shannon Barker is one of the most giving compassionate people I have ever been around. She is humble even to herself, never admitting to anyone how amazing she is.  
She regularly visits an elderly woman who is at an extended care facility.  She knows how much this woman enjoys her visits, especially when she brings her young children around.  She truly cares about her and is often thinking of things to make her healthy or happy.  She treats her like family and even brings her favorite snacks.  
Her home is constantly hosting other people’s children.  Her home has been open to many people on both sides of the family who have stayed for different periods of time when they needed help.
Even though she is continually busy with a hectic schedule, she always finds time to take meals to someone.  In fact, she started taking meals to a stranger regularly because she found out he was ill and needed support.  She feels the need to constantly be volunteering and helping. I feel she is often unnoticed because she quietly fills wherever she can.  She does an amazing job and genuinely cares about others.
 
Wayne Johnson, submitted by Courtney Rose
My grandpa, Wayne Johnson, is the most giving person I know.  There is no person I can think of that helps others around himself more than my grandpa. Whether it be getting to the bus garage early to shovel snow or make sure everything is running right, or helping neighbors with anything from mowing lawns, lending tools, sharing water, helping with household fixes, plowing snow, cutting down trees, or bringing them a homemade goody.  Not to mention the time and effort he puts into helping family. 
If there is ever anything we need or can’t figure out, just call Grandpa; he’ll know.  Grandpa is always there for anyone at any time, big or small. I hope by the time I’m in my 60s I can help at least half as many people as Grandpa has.  He is such a blessing and example to all who know him!
 
Ryan and Krista Johansen, submitted by Kristy McClellan
I would like to recognize Ryan and Krista Johansen for their countless hours of service through the years working with the Scouts. 
They have gone above the call of duty not only planning various activities (many times without an extra leader) but also teaching lifelong skills and building self confidence in the boys. They have been good examples to the many boys they have influenced. 
Ryan has volunteered his time working and teaching at various scout camps all over the state and Krista helps teach leaders right here in Morgan. The boys consider Ryan (Bro Jo) to not only be their leader, but also their friend.  
Krista also helps in every other aspect you can think of.  If someone needs help, she is right there.  She was a member of the Christmas on Commercial Street committee last year.  She and Ryan made sure every kid there had a blast.  
 
Shelly Betz, submitted by multiple sources
Shelly is often recognized for her work in the community, but not everyone realizes just what an amazing person she really is.  
Her hours spent on making sure the community has low-cost hometown celebrations go far and above what her city council position entails.  Even with the loss of her voice, she is tirelessly planning this year’s Christmas on Commercial celebration.  Nothing stops her.
Aside from community events, and despite being the busiest lady on earth, Shelly finds time to bring food to sick neighbors, gifts to friends who have simply had a bad day and warm “thank you” messages to those who assist her.
Shelly doesn’t just talk about supporting the local community and shopping local, she is frequently seen shopping her way up Commercial Street and telling everyone about her finds.  Her bright smile and sweet spirit make all who see her happy.
 
Marco Orton, submitted by Lyletta Searle
Marco Orton is always there for anyone in need.  She has been the “flower lady” for so many funerals, being responsible for picking them up at the mortuary, taking them to the chapel and then onto the cemetery.
 If you need help, she is just a phone call away and will drop anything to help anyone at anytime.
She tackles picking raspberries for you, helping clean a house, taking in meals, driving people to doctor appointments, family events, church events, community events, wherever you need to go and need help getting there.  If you are feeling down in the dumps or ill, here comes her famous potato soup delivered with a smile and time for conversations.
If you need a listening ear, she just sits back and listens and if asked, then gives her suggestion.  Her van is always on the road and on the go (I’m sure the gas companies love her a lot).
Compassionate service, friendly neighbor, a true friend and a great listener.  She finds time to help you in any way.
Suzanne Skeen, submitted by Lyletta Searle
Skeen is “Johnny on the spot” for service. She is busy taking meals to the sick, new moms, funerals, wherever there is a need.
She is so caring and sharing of her time whether as a busy mom, grandmother, neighbor, Relief Society president, employee, friend or neighbor.  She helps everyone in her family, church and community.
Suzanne is the first to arrive with a meal for comfort, first to arrive with a hug and caring and kind words. Suzanne is the first to volunteer to help regardless of her busy schedule. Suzanne is the first to make that phone call to let you know she is aware of your situation.
 When she has time to sleep, no one really knows as she is always here, there, everywhere all the time.
Her heart is big and grows bigger as she gives of her time, talent, energy and love. What a special lady she is and what a blessing to our beautiful valley.
Lyletta submitted both ladies saying, “I have worked with these two ladies all of 37 1/2 years and they just can’t be beat in helping others. They both avoid the spotlight and don’t brag about what they do.  They can be seen shopping for families in need at holiday time or anytime the need is there and then delivering with just a simple ‘I’m glad to help you out.  No problem, no big deal, just thinking of you.’  They give of their time, energy, and what little resources they have to help others in need.”
The last person we would like to recognize is one of our own, Don Anderson, publisher of The Morgan County News.  Don donates his time and money to so many Morgan causes and events, even though he doesn’t live in Morgan County. 
His support of events like the Morgan County Fair, Morgan Relay for Life and Christmas on Commercial Street surpasses what most small newspapers would contribute.  Aside from his business contributions, he also donates many hours speaking at family history events and serving in his own community.  Thanks Don, for all you do.