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What Are We Thankful for This Year? A Lot

November 23, 2017

Story and photos by Amaris Castillo acastillo@lowellsun.com

For many, Thanksgiving Day is a time to express gratitude. It could be a heartfelt appreciation for your family and friends -- or for a recent job promotion. Or it can be a time to simply be grateful for the roof over your head and food on the table. A few days before Thanksgiving, we asked people in Greater Lowell what they were most thankful for, and why.

Jagat Soni, employee at Indian Basket, Tyngsboro

“Work. I start work at 6 o’clock -- 6 to 10. I do only work, work, work, nothing more... so I can support my family.”

Nicole Nohelty, Lowell, employee at McDonald’s

“I’m most thankful for my family and my son, who will be 7 next month. My family is very supportive and I love them very much.”

Elizabeth Rey, 4, Chelmsford

“I’m thankful for everyone saying thank you. Nana and Papa, because he’s a good fixer.”

Miguelina Leclerc, Lowell, Nacional representative

“This year I give thanks -- like every year -- to God because He has lent us life. Without that, we can’t do anything. For my children, for the health of my eldest daughter, for my husband, for my mother, and for all the beautiful things that God has given us this year. This is more a moment to thank Him.”

Peter Lachiana, Dracut, retired shuttle bus driver

“I’m alive, in a free country. I can do what I want.”

Yucsy Rodriguez, Lowell, owner of Asados Dona Flor in Lowell

“First, we have to thank God because He gives us life and gives us the health to keep pushing forward. Secondly, thanks to this country that accepts us and allows us to work in tranquility. I feel that way. Those are the two most important things for me.”

Diana Ramsay, owner, BB Hair Salon, Billerica

“I’m thankful for God’s protection. That’s number one, you know? All that God has done for us.”

Lauren Devlin, library circulation assistant at the Tyngsboro Public Library

“Dogs. They’re just the purest beings on Planet Earth. They’re so loving and magnanimous, and forgiving and beautiful.”

Anna Morris, regular at the Dracut Council on Aging

“I just had an operation and I’m so happy I came out of it. I had my shoulder replaced. I can’t do too much with it, see? I’m thankful for my kids. They’re all so good to me. My three children, they’re all so good to me. My God. They won’t leave me alone. [Laughs] They’re very good, my children. Thank God.”

Jacqueline Chausse, Dracut, volunteer, Dracut Council on Aging

“I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful for my family, and I think this was the best move I made coming here to the Council on Aging. I’m thankful for where I live, in the housing. It’s a nice, clean, safe environment. It really is.”

Gert Lachs, Tyngsboro

“I’m thankful for so much that you don’t have room in your paper.”

Sol E. Ofarrill, Lowell, owner of Sowy’s Bakery

“I have to thank God, even though a very sad thing happened in my life -- my daughter’s death. It’s been a year now. But I thank Him because he has me still living. I have two beautiful granddaughters and a great-grandson who I adore.”

Oswaldo Joubert, Lowell, disabled veteran

“I’m most thankful for my family, my friends, and being free. Freedom. I served in the military for 11 years and I’ve been halfway around the world -- I’ve seen a lot of places and people that were more worse off than us, for freedom and economic-wise.

“My freedom, our freedom to express what we want to express, we can say things that we dislike about the political state we’re in right now, or not. We can worship any religion that we feel free to worship, we can walk down the street and feel extremely safe, even though humans will be humans. It seems like with things going on in today’s world, that’s a very good thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.”

Deborah Sebeika, Lowell, military veteran

“I’m leaving Dec. 1 to a new place, and that’s what I’m thankful for -- just to get out of this part of town because there’s nothing but drug crime around here and people winding up dead around here. The opioid crisis is really getting bad around here. I saved somebody’s life twice on fentanyl and I’m thankful for that I saved that person’s life today, but now she’s gone. She passed away on Stevens Street on May 27 of this year.”

Jaycee Feeley, Lowell, retired U.S. Army veteran

“My friends and my family because, without them, I would not be able to get through my time in the military and my time out of the military with everything I had to go through. So I’m very grateful for my friends and my family that helped me through that stuff.”

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.