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Pioneer Viewpoints: We give thanks to all of you

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It is fitting in this week of Thanksgiving that we've seen recent examples of those who make us thankful Bemidji and the surrounding areas are a great place to live.

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Jack Judkins is leaving his post at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf sometime around the end of the year. After retiring from decades of teaching, he grew restless, he told reporter Zach Kayser for a story in Sunday's edition. So, what did he do? He became the coordinator at the food shelf, helping to see that organization from its move in downtown to its expanded location in the industrial park, a smart move as needs continue to grow.

"What I'm going to take with me from this experience is the tremendous support the community has for what we do," Judkins told Kayser.

But what sums it up best may be what food shelf board president Bill Beyer said about Judkins: "I can't say how valuable he is. He's just an incredibly talented individual, very compassionate about people in this community."

We couldn't have said it better.

A local group, still without a name, has been meeting regularly recently to address the issue of homelessness in Bemidji. They, along with a group of members from area churches, have been leading the way to help those most in need. And while there is no magic cure out there, more involvement by more people only can lead to progress. It is easy to wish problems away; it's a lot hard to help try and solve them. We wish these groups the best of luck.

The United Way of the Bemidji Area hosted its annual Victory Dinner on Thursday night, announcing that this fall's fundraising campaign already has brought in more than $400,000 in donations. It's a testament to the involvement of area residents to try and make this a better place to live. Thanks to all the individuals and businesses who stepped up to help make a difference. If you'd like to give, contributions to the 2013 campaign will be accepted through Dec. 31. Contributions can be mailed to United Way, Box 27, Bemidji, MN 56619 or make a donation online by visiting UnitedWayBemidji.org. All contributions will be receipted for tax purposes.

These are just three examples of what makes this area a wonderful place to live and have received media attention. There are countless others who day-in and day-out, selflessly and without fanfare, contribute to our quality of life.

We are thankful for all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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