by Mike Simoneau
As I began to write this blog, my intent was to write about all of the things that I have to be thankful for this holiday season (and I will get into that in a little bit). Then, serendipitously, I overheard my daughter, who is in kindergarten, telling my wife that, in her class, her teacher had asked her and her classmates what they were thankful for. Taking a cue from her and her class, I decided to poll some Fuss & O’Neill employees to learn what they are thankful for or what their favorite Thanksgiving tradition is as we head into the holiday.
Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday because there is no pressure to buy the right gift, rather just spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. I am so grateful to have a family that gets along so well – when we are together, we just laugh and laugh. It’s hugely restorative for me, and I look forward to it all year.
~ Lindsay Silcox (Civil Engineer, Water and Natural Resources)
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is my family’s annual gingerbread house design competition after our big feast. Although we use graham crackers instead of gingerbread, the competition is as stiff as the zebra stripe gum my mom bought for the original competition in 1998! My grandfather was the reigning champion of classic winter wonderland houses before he passed away in 2011, and now my dad has introduced power tools and pyrotechnics into the competition. We have so much fun carrying on this tradition.
~ Amy Johnson (Civil Engineer, Community Development)
I am thankful for my life and for my loving parents, wife and son who have been there for me. I am grateful for my work and being able to spend time with friends and family.
~ Sudip Bafna (Environmental Compliance Engineer)
The pandemic has been difficult, and while I do not, in any way, want to diminish the challenges or the tragic loss of life that has been experienced, I find myself thankful for a couple of cultural shifts that have resulted. I’m thankful for the renewed emphasis on mental health, self-care, and work/life balance; the flexibility around working from home; and the renewed emphasis on thanking and appreciating “essential people” that our society had hitherto overlooked. Also, Thanksgiving is great because I love to eat the leftover pie for breakfast the next morning!
~ Celicia Boyden (Water Resources Engineer)
I am thankful to be celebrating my son MJ’s
first Thanksgiving this year!
~ Matt Skelly (Transportation Engineer)
What I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving season is my family. Now, before you roll your eyes and say how cliché this is, give me a minute to explain. Thanksgiving in my family lasts for four days! My cousins, siblings, grandfather, and I start cooking on Wednesday afternoon and we make two turkeys for all the family and friends that come over for the actual holiday. Thursday is pretty typical, starting with the Macy’s parade and ending with dinner at a typical dinnertime, instead of some people’s preferred afternoon mealtime. Friday is affectionately called “cousin day” which we now have the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas because, as we’ve gotten older, we see each other less and less throughout the year. It’s a day that we stay in our pajamas all day and play board games and card games all day, as well as uphold our family tradition of making ravioli from scratch with my Great Nana’s recipe and tools. We have some for dinner that night and my Nana freezes the rest for us and we have them as part of our Christmas Eve feast! Saturday is when things start to wind down, but we usually all go out for lunch to celebrate a few family birthdays that are towards the end of the month. There’s a total of maybe 15 of us that are around for the whole festivity and not being together last year really opened my eyes as to how important this time with my family is to me! So this year I am thankful for my family, and I cannot wait to see all of them on Wednesday!
~ Katherine Patch (Transportation Engineer)
I am thankful for a lot of things, but a couple come to mind. I am thankful that my loved ones are healthy. I am thankful that my loved ones have support systems and each other to help to focus on what’s important and how to acknowledge and meet whatever challenges come our way. Finally, I am thankful for great work colleagues that challenge me make me want to improve every single day.
~ Phil Forzley (Vermont Office Manager and Civil Engineer)
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is our family walk after the Thanksgiving meal to burn off some of the calories!
~ Doug Brisee (Wastewater Engineer)
Gosh, I could write pages upon pages about what I’m thankful for. But if I had to pick a few of the good and beautiful things in this world I would say: being a mom with all of its joys, struggles, and exhaustion; gorgeous sunrises bringing new possibilities; and most of all hugs at this year’s Thanksgiving table!
~ Stephanie White (Landscape Architect)
We often travel to my brother’s or sister’s house for Thanksgiving, so I’m thankful that we’re hosting Thanksgiving for my family this year. I’m really thankful that we get to set the menu – canned cranberry sauce instead of whole berry sauce, and no squash!
~ Steve Reichert (Civil Engineer)
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is getting together with my family. For the past 15 years, we gather in my grandmother’s dining room that is far too small for our growing family. We have plenty of other options for gathering at different family members’ houses, but with each addition of children and spouses, the tradition of squeezing into grandma’s dining room becomes more fun. Over the years we have had to get creative utilizing the kitchen window to pass plates from the kitchen to the dining room, planning our entrance for seating around the table, and putting the ones who always get up and check the scores of the game closest to the door.
~ Kevin Carme (Bridge Engineer)
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is eating all the gherkin pickles and teeny tiny onions before dinner! I’m thankful for vaccines – science changes our lives for the better every day. And I’m thankful for my dear friends and family who love me so much.
~ Jen Thurber (Mechanical Engineer)
I am thankful that my family is happy and healthy. I am also thankful that my fiancé has been unsuccessful at talking me into getting another dog, as 2 are more than enough! And on Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful that nobody in my family enjoys cranberry sauce so I get to eat it all. Their loss!
~ Jed Sweetman (Civil Engineer)
I am thankful for my colleagues at Fuss & O’Neill, who inspire me every day. They bring so much expertise and experience, which allows us to help with virtually any engineering challenge. But, most importantly, they are good people, they truly care about making the world a better place, and they know that what we accomplish together as a team can have long-lasting positive impacts on our communities.
~ Brian Kortz (Geologist)
As for me, I’m thankful that, during a time that has been challenging and abnormal to say the least, I have people in both my personal and professional life that continue to show me the care, support, and empathy to help navigate what our “new normal” has become. I’m also thankful for my wife’s grandmother, who, at 94, still insists on trying to make everything, including the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat, for Thanksgiving dinner (it’s more of a team effort now though, much to her chagrin). Finally, I’m thankful that my 5-year-old inspired me to reach out to my wonderful coworkers to share in the Thanksgiving spirit!
Wishing you a safe, healthy, restful, and fulfilling holiday!
About the Author
Mike Simoneau is a Senior Marketing Coordinator who enjoys collaborating with everyone at Fuss & O’Neill and is constantly inspired by the solutions they create!