Local leaders share: "What about La Jolla are you most thankful for?"

• OPINION / VIEWS:

For Thanksgiving 2015, La Jolla Light asked several community leaders: "What about La Jolla are you most thankful for?"

••• I'm thankful to be able to call such an amazing place home — the beaches and the ocean and amazing sunsets — it really is unbelievable! I also love the sense of "community" we find in La Jolla. From the 4th of July Parade in Bird Rock, to the Christmas Parade in the Village, to all of the concerts and other events throughout our community. La Jolla has so much to offer to those of us who live here, as well as those who visit our city. It doesn't matter your age or stage of life, there is always a place where you can "connect" with others. — Rev. Paul Cunningham, La Jolla Presbyterian Church

••• I am most thankful that here in La Jolla, even when we disagree on issues with our fellow La Jollans, we still all share a special love for our town that is far greater than our differences. — Steve Haskins, La Jolla Town Council President

••• First and foremost, I am most thankful to live in La Jolla. It’s an outstanding community and a wonderful place to raise your children. As a City Councilmember, I am thankful for the active and involved constituents who live in La Jolla. They volunteer countless hours in a variety of ways because they care about their community, and it shows. — Sherri Lightner, San Diego City Council President

••• I am most thankful for the beaches, the surf, the sunsets, the history, the incredible beauty, the locals, the first La Jollans, and my wonderful friends and family. — Melinda Merryweather, Beach Access Activist

••• I am endlessly thankful for the spirit of giving in this community. At a time when so many city services, schools, public events and religious sites are the scenes of terrorism and death, La Jolla’s residents are giving their time and money toward human betterment. In this community, private funding builds hospitals, provides events that teach tradition like the Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival, supports wounded warrior rehabilitation, and organizes such health-giving experiences as the Kiwanis Half Marathon and Junior Olympics. Financial donors keep the library open extra-long hours and underwrite music and graphic art programs in public schools. Volunteers man food booths, remove trash from downtown streets and teach underwater skills at the shore. A multitude of churches sustain not only religious services and comfort but also educational opportunities in safe environments. We help each other and the extended family of our surrounding city. — Phyllis Minick, Coast Walk Protectress

••• I’ve lived in La Jolla for 25 years and although its physical beauty is something surely to treasure, I am also grateful for the people who make La Jolla the special place that it is. For almost three years, I’ve been Director of La Jolla Friendly Visitors, a sister program to La Jolla Meals on Wheels. It is a privilege for my co-worker, Jane Semelsberger, and I to support the seniors in La Jolla with meals and visits at this crucial time in their lives. Connecting the younger generations with seniors in our community is enriching for everyone involved. I value and treasure the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had in helping seniors stay connected. They inspire me with their strength and wisdom. — Jeannie Walsh, Director of La Jolla Friendly Visitors

••• We are most fortunate that La Jolla is home to some of the foremost research institutes in the world — especially UCSD, the Salk Institute, the late Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman's Neurosciences Institute, Scripps Clinic, Scripps Research Institute, Moores Cancer Center, General Atomics and others. These distinguished centers of research have drawn many prominent scientists here, including a number of Nobel Laureates, from many countries around the world, to pursue pioneering work in molecular biology, neuroscience, cancer research and other biomedical challenges. — Dennis Wills, owner of D.G. Wills Books

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