Photos by Andrew Boone/Santa Monica College

In a year of challenges, setbacks and sacrifice, everyone is learning important lessons in gratitude. Here is what twelve Santa Monica community leaders are feeling thankful for this year.

Christine Parra, incoming City Council member

I’m thankful for my beautiful family and extended Santa Monica family for their love and support. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to serve the city that I love so much! Wishing you all an amazing Thanksgiving!

Eric Shafer, Pastor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for so much, but one thanks that stands out is my gratitude to the members of Mt. Olive and others in our community who have responded to our growing food ministries with donations of $$ and food items to help feed the hungry in this community. Thank you!

Eric Bailey, Big Blue Bus driver

I would have to say that in a year where there’s been so much loss, I’ve been fortunate to see a minimal amount of it. It goes without saying that my thoughts are with those who haven’t been so privileged.

Ron Hooks, Executive Director of West Coast Care

I am thankful for all the great people in this caring community who, even in the most difficult times, rallied to help West Coast Care keep going. A phenomenal year – reducing homelessness and advancing the wellbeing and safety of everyone. I am thankful!!!

Kingsley Fife, President of Santa Monica Lions Club

I’m most thankful for the fact that in the midst of this terrible pandemic my wife and I and our daughter and her family and our relatives are all healthy.

Eddie Guerboian, Former Santa Monica Chamber President, Former Kiwanis President, and forever the STACHE

Proud to be American and give thanks to The Lord for having the privilege to be living in the Greatest Country in the World USA God Bless Everyone and God Bless America. HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Jeffrey Merrihue, Founder of Heroic Italian

Here at Heroic we are grateful that so far our customers and employees have escaped the scourge and we hope and pray for a better 2021 for all.

Zina Josephs, SMMUSD District Advisory Committee on the Visual & Performing Arts, Queen of Sunset Park

I’m very grateful that my family is healthy, that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, and that I have the opportunity to do volunteer work with the amazing people on the Friends of Sunset Park Board, the Neighborhood Council, and Airport 2 Park.

Jeff Jarow, Santa Monica Pier Board Member, Santa Monica Chamber Board, 4th of July Parade King

I haven’t lost my mind….one half got lost…and the other went looking for it ! So I’m thankful I still have it together !!

Lane Dilg, Interim City Manager

In these historic times, I am grateful to everyone providing care and hope to our community. From food drive and Farmer’s Market volunteers, to health care, mental health, and child care providers, to transit operators and waste and water workers, to emergency responders and enforcement teams, to business owners and economic development supporters, to all developing and distributing vaccines, and to everyone loving and supporting them at home.

Jacqueline Seabrooks, Interim Police Chief

As the Interim Police Chief of the Santa Monica Police Department, at this moment and during these seemingly uncertain times, I am grateful to be able to lead a dedicated group of public safety professionals who are proud and honored to be of service in our wonderful Santa Monica community.

Kathleen Rawson, CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is thankful for our dedicated hospitality, maintenance and quality of life ambassador teams who have been taking great care of our downtown throughout the pandemic, ensuring it is a safe and welcoming space for all. We are grateful for the resilient spirit of our businesses, who have been extremely creative over the last couple of months in transforming public space into amazing outdoor places that have helped bring downtown and the Promenade back to life.

Albin Gielicz, Board Member of the Montana Avenue Merchants Association

The Montana Avenue Merchants Association is truly thankful for all of the hard work and determination demonstrated by our small businesses which comprise this unique street in Santa Monica. We are all grateful to the City of Santa Monica and our other partners throughout the community for their support and guidance during this challenging time, and to the Santa Monica Police Department for watching out for us and keeping us safe. It takes a village and we could not have done this without you.

Dana Moorehead, Merchant Engagement Director Pico Improvement District

The Pico Improvement Org is fortunate to help promote the merchants that line the 3.2 miles of Pico Blvd, from Centinela to the beach. The resilience of our merchants, from restaurants to nail salons, paint stores to fitness studios, coffee shops and auto repair, is inspiring. We encourage residents to Buy Local this holiday, as we work to support this goal. That is the spirit of Pico!

Negin Singh, Executive Director, Santa Monica Pier Corporation

As an organization whose main source of income in the normal times was event rentals and sponsorships, I am so thankful for a dedicated, do-whatever-they-had-to-do team that never once let the anxiety and insecurity of these crazy times stop them from going above and beyond to serve the Pier community. Also thankful for the pier’s incredible tenants, our board members, public safety officers, city employees, sanitation workers, community partners, and more who came together to safely reopen the pier. What a giant feat that was!

Jan Williamson, Executive Director, 18th Street Arts Center

I’m grateful for all the workers who keep our public and private spaces clean. The tending and care that they provide to so many, often unseen, is deeply appreciated.

Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism

I am grateful for my family and friends and that they are safe and healthy. To live and work in a city that I love. I am thankful to our first responders, healthcare and essential workers and to our community for all that we are, as we each offer something special that contributes to our unique neighborhoods and the diverse experience’s they each offer. For each Santa Monica sunrise as the colors paint the sky reflecting its beauty bringing yet another day of hope. And, I am thankful as well as grateful that 2020 is almost over!