Last month, I concluded my annual State of the Town Address with this challenge: Let’s be the kind of people who strive to be each other’s BEST memory. THAT is the type of community we are building together.

That challenge is a natural fit for Thanksgiving—my favorite holiday—when so many fond memories are made. In fact, it was the memories of my childhood in Michigan which served as the inspiration for my State of the Town Address this year. 

I had such a great experience growing up there. It was the type of community where people knew their neighbors on their street. We looked out for each other. In short, everyone took care of each other because they had taken the time to get to know one another. 

Oro Valley has worked hard to provide the infrastructure, services and amenities so that we could become the complete community we are today, meeting the needs of all ages. Our town has been thoughtfully crafted so that our residents can build relationships and create special memories right here.

But we’re not really “complete” until our residents are actively building relationships and creating memories with one another.

You see, at some point in time, I believe we all reach that moment where we sit back and reflect on the things that have occurred in our lives. When we do, the majority of those memories will be positive. 

Those memories are as much about the place as they are about the people. 

I want children who grow up in Oro Valley to feel that way about their experience here. I want adults who move here to feel that same sense of belonging and connection. We achieve that when we are intentional about reaching out to each other, getting to know each other, expressing gratitude and striving to be each other’s best memories.

In my Thanksgiving article last year, I invited you to personally tell me what you’re thankful for. This year, I’d like to ask something a little more specific. Tell me about someone in Oro Valley for whom you’re thankful. That could be a neighbor, friend, teacher, coach, relative, community leader or colleague. Email me at shiremath@orovalleyaz.gov. (And after you tell me, be sure you tell them!) There is no better way of celebrating Thanksgiving than expressing our thanks for the people who make a difference in our lives.

Once again, my challenge to you is to be the kind of people who strive to be each other’s best memory. That is the type of community we are building together. And if you’d like to learn more about this amazing community, I invite you to watch or read the 2016 State of the Town Address, which is available on the Town’s YouTube channel and on our website at www.orovalleyaz.gov

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