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Leaders give thanks to the community

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm

MILFORD—Community leaders expressed their gratitude to each other and the community during a “Giving Thanks and Giving Back” event on Monday evening at Caroline High School.

The community-wide Thanksgiving event began at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium and was put together by Caroline County ministers and community leaders. Those in attendance included Major Scott Moser of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd Thomas, the chairman of the Caroline County Board of Supervisors and his wife, Linda, the former state president of the NAACP, Mayor of Bowling Green David Storke, and Caroline Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Killough.

The service stems from meetings that Caroline ministers began having after the Boston Marathon bomber was buried in an Islamic cemetery in Caroline in May. Caroline made worldwide news because of the burial and much of the reaction to the burial was negative. “The Thanksgiving service represents something positive that came from the negativity of the burial,” Thomas said last week.

Moser thanked the county’s first responders for their service to the county. He said that this event, and others like it, is “about getting to know one another.”

Thomas spoke on behalf of the county’s elected leaders. He thanked both the leaders, and the county residents for their support. “I’m very thankful for what we have here today,” Thomas said. “We have ministers from different theologies and people from all over the county.”

Killough represented those who serve in the field of education. He thanked all those present and past educators for their service. “I am thankful for all the staff in our schools,” Killough said. “Most of all I am thankful for the children.”

Storke spoke as a representative of business leaders in the county. Storke thanked the community on behalf of the other business owners for “supporting us, and allowing us to be in business.”

The Rev. David Upshaw began the service by speaking about the reason for the service: “We are here to give thanks for each other,” he said. Upshaw then invited the audience to turn to their neighbors in the room and say to them: “I am thankful that you are here.” The audience complied, with much friendly laughter, hugs, and handshakes. Other ministers from Caroline who spoke during the service include Mel Covington, Bambi Willis, Antonio Clinkscale and Lloyd Fox.

Those who attended the event experienced Christmas and patriotic music from the Caroline High School student band, the St. Asaph’s Episcopal Church choir of Bowling Green and the St. John Baptist Church choir of Woodford. The Caroline High School JROTC presented the colors at the beginning of the event.

The event was free, and despite the word “Thanksgiving” in the title, it did not include a meal. Rather, attendees were encouraged to donate canned goods to the Caroline Social Services Department for needy residents of the county. For anyone who would like to donate to the local community food bank, checks may be made out to the Department of Social Services.

There was also a place to donate cash to the CHS marching band. Funds are needed for the band because a former treasurer for the CHS Band Boosters Club allegedly embezzled close to $5,000 in funds that students, teachers, and parents had raised. Checks for the Cavalier Band should be made payable to Caroline Band Parents Association.

Ministers from a wide range of denominations attended the event. “This is the first year for the county-wide Thanksgiving service,” said Thomas. The pastors forum, made up of clergy from all over Caroline, meet monthly to plan events such as this, and to discuss happenings in the county. Their next meeting will be on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Caroline Community Services Building.