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Tagged ‘Columbia‘

The Baldauf Sisters

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Beth and Mary Pat,

Thank you both for all you do to make our fun, funky little community such a warm and inviting neighborhood, too.

We are blessed to have two enthusiastic people who do so much to keep residents up to date and in the know. One (or oftentimes of both of you) can be relied upon to post pictures, send lemonade stand and garage sale coordinates, volunteer for anything needed, tweet upcoming events, search for wayward pets, cheer on the troops at Fort Jackson, attend community meetings and events, or let us know when trash or recycling pick-up is out of whack.

Your willing service and enthusiasm are gifts to this community and to all of your neighbors, too. It’s clear you both love Forest Acres and all the work you do on behalf of it inspires other to care about it even more.

There are very few people I can think of who contribute so much to their community so willingly and so well. Forest Acres, in fact, shines brighter because of the both of you.

I am proud and grateful to have you as neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

 

Debbie McDaniel

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Debbie,

Some communities flounder without leaders. For years, you have ensured Five Points isn’t one of them. I decided yesterday that if anyone epitomized the heart and soul of Five Points it’s you.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Revente and have enjoyed shopping there for years. It’s great to have such a wonderful store with so much variety and gently used affordability. In fact, your store helped shape my new clothes shopping philosophy: there are already enough awesome clothes in the world.

Thinking back, I should’ve written this letter months ago when I saw the story about the Invest in a Vest fundraiser. It was you who saw the need, rallied the troops and made something happen. And, it was all in the name of community responsibility.

But earlier this week in the dreary rain, I was once again impressed by your generosity.

On Millwood Avenue with an hour spare, I finally popped into Revente’s Last Call for my first visit. Not only did I find two new-favorite designer tops, it was gratifying to know I was shopping at a store that benefits those in need. Your support of The Women’s Shelter gives me great reason to choose your store — one that few other stores can offer.

Part of my desire to shop there and at Revente, though, is you. Just as you support others, I want you to know how much I support you.

Thank you for your generosity and community spirit. We are a better city for both.

Sincerely,

 

Julie Turner

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Capital Karate

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Capital Karate,

When we brought our seven year old to the studio for a belt test early this year, I really didn’t comprehend all he’d been learning through the afterschool karate program at Satchel Ford Elementary School.

I knew he’d clearly been learning and enjoying the karate lessons. What I didn’t know about was the program’s deep integration of character building — focus, goals, leadership, honesty, confidence, safety and self-respect. I was thrilled with the physical fitness component of the classes, but to learn about the character-based education, well that just made karate even more valuable in my eyes.

Over the past few months I have really enjoyed watching him learn and grow in your studio. Your instructors — Mike, Andrew and Charlie — and the students who are learning to teach are the best mix of silliness, taskmaster and role model any parent could ask for.

Every time I hear a class recite the student creed I savor it — especially on those days when you talk about what the words really mean rather than simply letting them rush through. You are teaching behavior and building skills that will benefit our children for years to come.

I am so grateful we stumbled into such an excellent karate studio and experience for our child.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Tony and Sonya

The Thank You Project

 

 

 

Dear United States Postal Service,

When I crept into the United States Post Office at Trenholm Plaza at five ‘o clock one Friday afternoon in June, the employees didn’t tell me they were closed and try to run me out the door. Rather, they gave me such great service and with such a winning attitude that I am writing you a letter about it weeks later.

It was closing time on a busy Friday afternoon. I was in the middle of a line of about seven last-minute customers. Tony came out to let us know they were trying to get us all taken care of as quickly as they could and to see if he could answer any questions or help anyone with forms for their letters and packages. I didn’t have to wait long but his good humor and winning attitude definitely made the time pass quickly.

The customer ahead of me in the line mentioned this was her third visit to the post office that same day. She said it had been very busy every time she came in.

I wouldn’t have ever known that looking at and listening to Sonya who was working the counter that afternoon. When I approached her she smiled like I was her first customer of the day. In her capable hands my package was off and ready to ship in no time. Then, when she thanked me for coming in, her voice wasn’t weary. Her voice told me she meant every word she said.

As I went out the door that afternoon I was so glad to have finally gotten that birthday present off my desk and into the mail. But that’s not what stuck with me. It was the exceptional customer service and professionalism of the two hard-working postal employees who were on duty that day.

Tony and Sonya are great representatives of your workforce. I wanted you to know the difference they made for me and other customers one very busy Friday afternoon in Forest Acres.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

C.J.’s Auto Sales

 

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear C.J.’s Auto Sales,

When I rolled into your car lot the other day, I was simply stopping to check my tire. It was, apparently, flat as a pancake. Not what you want on the way to pick up your kids after a long day of work.

Your employees — Herbert, Reggie and Greg — came out to help me without a moment’s hesitation. First they tried to fill up the tire. Then, once we determined it was a lost cause, they were nice enough to put on the spare.

I was surprised to be back on my way in what felt like mere minutes.

I made it to pick up my two boys before school closed and shared my half-hour saga with them knowing they’d be intrigued by all that transpired. I told them about the tire going flat, how I could tell there was a problem and that I found help just around the corner from school.

For me, though, here’s where the story really began.

We talked about how the men didn’t have to help me. I explained the business was there to sell cars not fix them like a garage. I told them the men probably helped me because they felt somewhere inside that it was the right thing to do. I shared my hope that they would remember how I’d been helped by your employees even though it was likely they would gain nothing for the work they did.  It was pure and simple kindness.

I am tremendously grateful for the assistance I got from Herbert, Reggie and Greg. Their kindness meant the world to me.

Sincerely,

 

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Columbia Green

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Columbia Green,

I was surprised to drive by the very busy corner of Gervais and Huger a few mornings ago and see three hearty souls braving wet, dreary rain to “green” the long-vacant street corner where Kline Steel once stood.

It was no surprise it happened because of Columbia Green.

So many of our city’s most beautiful — and challenging — landscaping efforts have happened at the hands of your nonprofit organization. Your group has ensured our city’s gateways and busiest thoroughfares leaf and bloom whatever the season.

Countless times I’ve glanced outside my car window to see a surprising burst of wild flowers or wondered how a grouping of plants thrives on a tiny island of dirt that’s surrounded by concrete. Usually, tucked into that small patch of beauty somewhere is a small, understated green sign — the mark of Columbia Green.

It’s amazing how little it takes to give a barren spot some visual interest. A few carefully placed railroad ties, some healthy soil and low-maintenance plants are an eye-catching improvement anywhere.

What’s most impressive is that this entire group is dedicated to making these small roadside miracles possible. It’s work every resident, business, community and visitor benefits from.

Thank you for making our entire city your front-yard, Columbia Green.

It has never looked more welcoming.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Trader Joe’s

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Trader Joe’s,

I’m not writing to thank you for coming to Columbia — although I am overjoyed. My gratitude stems from something else your company is doing in this venture: taking an old, abandoned building and giving it a new life as a Trader Joe’s.

Like many other longtime Columbians, I remember weekly treks to Columbia Mall, Decker Boulevard and Richland Mall to do most of our local shopping. In the days before Harbison and Sandhills, many large and small retailers were wedged in the not-quite-Northeast area.

What remains in the wake of a once-thriving retail hub? Decaying structures. Vacant parking lots. Barely occupied strip malls. The weeds, broken glass and emptiness are painful wounds that stagnate and drain communities where business once boomed.

There’s a good deal to be said for businesses like yours and others including Whole Foods and Pasta Fresca who choose to retrofit and rebuild existing structures rather than demolish what little is left of our natural assets.

I hope your decision to come to Forest Acres proves to be a great move for your company. In my eyes, it’s already invaluable.

Thank you for investing in the community I love.

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Be Beep

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Be Beep,

It’s not often you walk into a store and know you’ll find exactly what you’re after. Every time I walk into your store that’s just how I feel. Even better, I leave with the perfect gift, beautifully wrapped and topped with gigantic colorful bow.

Having a “real” toy store in the neighborhood is such a treat.

The magic of the overhead circling train never escapes me. And right there in the middle of the store, a tree. Just the type of fun you expect from a place that caters to the imagination.

I’ve always liked shopping at Be Beep, but the past few years I‘ve grown to love it.

You have a nice staff that’s quick to offer assistance. Your merchandise is thoughtfully chosen and of the highest quality. You blend award-winning educational fun to help kids develop useful skills with the pure fun of a pack of stick-on moustaches that cultivate a sense of humor.

Like the blue box of Tiffany, the bright bow of Be Beep is a sign of a wonderful gift.

I love giving gifts from a toy store that stocks its shelves so lovingly.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

 

Melrose Park Volunteers

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Melrose Park Volunteers,

It’s not often you go to a public park and see beautiful, well-tended vegetable gardens and lush planted beds. I can remember only one time that’s happened to me. The first time my children and I ventured to Melrose Park.

For a few years, Melrose has been our favorite park. It’s not close to home so when we find ourselves downtown, we pop by because we enjoy it so much.

We enjoyed a visit late last Friday afternoon and I saw someone there quietly watering the gardens. Ian indulged my questions about the vegetables, about the park and about how it manages to be so pretty all the time. One conversation gave me all the answers.

Melrose Park has the love of a dedicated group of citizen volunteers.

The park is so well kept because the plants get after-hours grooming, attention and expertise. There are regularly tended city-built community gardens where children can learn how to plant vegetables, see them grow and later enjoy them. The child-sized picnic table and cooling ceiling fan welcome groups of all ages and encourage neighborhood and family gatherings.

I know there must be painfully frustrating times. I can hardly fathom seeing someone litter or treat the park disrespectfully. On the other hand, this family — and many other families I have spoken to at the park — always notice all the work that’s made it such a beautiful retreat. Your community is lucky to have such a gift.

Thank you for making Melrose Park such a shining example of what a community can and will do for a public property. It’s heartening and very much appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.

Christian Thee

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Christian,

When I saw your studio was taking part in the Open Studios weekend, I was thrilled. I have admired your work for some time. I knew seeing your home would be a treat.

I remember the first time I learned of your incredible talent. Ten years ago, I was designing a brochure that included a photo of a wooden table that was part of one of your local commissions. I’d never heard of trompe l’oeil, but I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It was art, but so different than anything I’d ever experienced. It had pieces and secrets. You could look at it for hours and later see something completely new — an unexpected layer you had to look deeply to see or, my favorite, a near-secret flash of whimsy.

I remember the second time I came across your work, too, inside St. Peters Catholic Church. When my husband and I were married there, one of my favorite memories was showing my young nephew the tiny green lizard that lives there.

To be able to study your intricate stage models, memories and magic memorabilia in person this weekend was a few hours I will forever cherish. You have brought so much to our community. Not just in your work on behalf of the arts community and Bruce’s efforts to bring new life to the old Fox Theatre, but for the sheer magic and boundless creativity you so thoughtfully breathe into everyday life.

There was much I wanted to say to you last Saturday. I loved experiencing your home’s secrets. Being able to closely study at all the history, that teeny-tiny rollercoaster, the green fairy, delicate bird’s nest, sumptuous details and the photos of your love’s megawatt smile.

Thank you for the beautiful reminders that curiosity is something to be rewarded.

Sincerely,

 

Julie Turner

P.S. — I knew I couldn’t pick up the house key, but I tried anyway.

 

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.