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Tagged ‘The Thank You Project‘

Shannon Bueker

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Shannon,

I own an original painting of yours and have for some time — my best guess is eight or nine years by now. It’s a lovely painting of a bunch of flying pigs I discovered at Portfolio Art Gallery in Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina.

I have no idea how you painted it, what inspired you to paint it, or when you painted it. What I do know is that the first moment I saw it; it spoke to my heart. And it has done so every day since then.

I admired it long before I owned it, in the days when I could barely make the rent and car payment. Then one day I went to see it and it was gone. Many months later I was back in the shop and asked if there might ever possibly be another one — knowing all the time the answer would be no. But the answer wasn’t no. Turns out, someone had been test-driving the painting at home and the pigs were coming back to the gallery the next day. That’s how your pigs came to roost with me.

Your painting has been a gift in my life for many years and I am so grateful to have it. It’s one of my most cherished posessions. Thank you for creating it.

Sincerely,

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a 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.

830 Maple Street

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear 830 Maple-ites,

Thank you for the sweet, inspiring messages you leave every now and again on your front porch!

I often drive by your house in my quest to get from Devine Street to Millwood Avenue and back. I treasure the days I catch an inspiring message you’ve written on the small chalkboard that’s at the top of your front porch stairs. It’s usually just a few words or a simple thought but it never ceases to make me smile.

Thank you for taking the time to lift others and share an inspiring thought — even if it’s with strangers driving down your street.

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.

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.

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.

Forest Acres Public Works

The Thank You Project

 

Dear Forest Acres Public Works,

Last week, one of your trash collection employees caught my eye. Not once, but twice. Here’s why.

I happened to glance out of the window as the truck came toward our section of Oakwood Drive. I noticed a worker look toward our neighbor’s house. Their trash can was not on the street. It was close to their house since it’s not easy for them to get it to the curb. Rather than skip the stop, which could have easily been done, he walked up to the house, retrieved the can and wheeled it to the truck.

Once it was empty, he didn’t leave the can lying on it’s side or even on the street. He wheeled it all the way back up the driveway, close to the house. In fact, he placed it right where it came from. Whether he knew it was a difficult task for our neighbors or not didn’t matter. I found the gesture incredibly thoughtful.

As I sat there wondering who he was and if he was our regular trash guy, he made his way back toward the truck. He paused in the middle of the street as the truck lumbered ahead. He’d spied a few pieces of trash that has escaped from the truck’s jaws. Rather then step over it or pretend he didn’t see it he picked it all up and moved on down the street.

It would have been a cinch for him to take the easy way out twice that morning but he didn’t.

I wish my children had been close-by so I could have shown them a great example of someone who went above and beyond what was expected even when no one was looking.

Thank you — to him and to each and every one of you — for the hard work you do every day. It does not go unnoticed.

 

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.

 

Charlotte Berry

The Thank You Project

 

 

Dear Charlotte,

You don’t know this but you are one of the inspirations for this great little adventure I have undertaken: The Thank You Project.

I have been fortunate enough to see the amazing philanthropic work you have done in two communities — here in Columbia and in Asheville, NC, where I worked for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.

Throughout your life you’ve so quietly made so much good possible. I’d always admired that and vowed one day to thank you for it. It didn’t matter that you didn’t know who I was. I hoped in some way my saying thank you would help you know the profound ways you have impacted others’ lives.

I clearly remember sitting in a restaurant on the coast a few years ago — during a lingering weekend dinner. And who should sit at the table next to us? You! A perfect opportunity to thank you, right there just an elbow away. And what did I do? Completely chickened out.

That night, I felt silly. I couldn’t believe I missed the opportunity to do something I’d thought about for years: simply say thank you. I vowed to never make that mistake again and last year I made good on that promise.

Finally meeting you in person and finally seizing the opportunity to tell you thank you felt so wonderful. I’ve carried that meeting in my heart and since then have carefully taken more time to thank the many people who work so hard to bring good into others’ lives.

I continue to admire the amazing gift that is your support, spirit and empowerment. You teach the value of community, and add so much grace to ours.

Thank you, again.

 

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.