David DeRose: Mayor of Craig

As I approach my 50th birthday, I am reminded of the way I viewed Thanksgiving in the past. In my younger days, it was a time that signaled the beginning of Christmas play and concert practices, and growing up in Grand Junction it was never as cold as it is here. We usually gathered around the table, and every family member expressed thanks for different things. Then, we would eat too much and all of my friends would gather in the annual Giblet Bowl, a group of would-be football players who would meet for a game and place several people on the injured reserve list for at least a year. "No pads, no talent and no brains" was our moniker. We all decided this was not such a good idea some 20 years ago. Thanksgiving was a time in which we only gave lip service to the season, much as it is for most of us today.

I find the need to really take inventory of the past year and address the happenings in Craig and Moffat County that deserve our thoughtful accounting. As I have said in other letters, sometimes we want to dwell only on the negative, and we must train our minds and spirits to dwell on the good, the positive and the honorable, and give thanks for those things. So here goes.

One year ago we did not have a nursing home and many of the seniors who needed this service were sent to Meeker and Doak Walker and elsewhere. But thanks to Lop Behrman and Red Cortner for making an investment in our futures, and to Mitch who reopened the Sand Rock Ridge, we have a first-class nursing facility, and if you have not been there you should go and witness the change.

One year ago, we had a vacant building on the east side of town and through the vision of Pres Askew and the hard work of many -- particularly Jim Dodd and Ann and the school district maintenance staff -- we have transformed a vacant building into what I think is the most- used building in our community. Thanks to Jonathan and his staff who work with an average of about 90 to 100 of our youths from ages 6 to about 15 every night after school. The Boys and Girls Club lives and is thriving with the work it is doing. If you think of it, send the price of a cup of coffee a day to keep it going.

One year ago a move started with Young Life that is near and dear to my heart and today we have a place for our teens to experience something that has been absent since my son was in high school. Thanks, Young Life team. By the way, about 40 high-school-age men and women are meeting weekly and I think having the time of their lives.

Thanks to the Moffat County football coaches for having a great year and building character and ability in a group of young men with whom we as a community can be proud to be associated. Thanks to all of the Bulldogs for letting all out of shape men like me live football vicariously through your accomplishments, Love those 'Dogs, and we still have wrestling and basketball.

Thanks to the six men on the Craig City Council that I have had the privilege to serve with and for your support of recycling, and a proactive approach to meth. Thanks to the staff of the city of Craig for making my job for the past six years as easy as it was. Thanks also go to the Moffat County commissioners for helping to support this effort and drive this problem from our community.

Thanks to this community for seeing the need to stand up against meth and take back our community, and special thanks to Sheriff Grinstead, Commissioner Steele, Chief Vanata, Annette Giannetti and their staffs for the extra time and effort they have put in to change our community.

The community response has been overwhelming, and special thanks goes to all of the people working on all of the committees and the people willing to provide a neighborhood watch and go to training to learn what to watch for. Again, thanks to the Daily Press for your series of articles that I think woke us up from a coma to see the need. By the way, Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse is the official name for this effort.

And now, just a list of things that have existed for years that you should be thankful for. The city and county Road and Bridge departments that keep us moving, the great parks that we have and the programs that they offer each of us. That we have a refrigerated ice rink and the hockey leagues that many cities larger than ours do not have, all of the men and women who coach many different sports and activities with our youths whether paid to or not and regardless of whether their children participated. Be thankful for this, and may each of you who coach make a difference in someone's life both in skill and character. Thank you to all of those special school teachers who have made such a difference in the lives of our youth and made many of them want to return to take over for you, that is a true tribute to your success.

I know that as you read this letter you may think I am losing it and maybe I am, but just remember the commercial that portrays the good a thank you will do and I challenge you to make this the most Thanks-giving you have ever experienced.

David DeRose

Mayor of Craig

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