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Editorial: Thank you

Thank you for the world so sweet.

We live in a wonderful world, a great nation and a caring community where good things happen.

A major reason is the many people who focus on the sweet aspects of life, dedicating themselves to helping others.

The community recently lost such a man.

Paul Swanson was the go-to numbers guy for local nonprofits for decades. He treasured humor as much as he did keeping the books, but he also would dig in wherever necessary to make the vision reality. The Y’s Men’s Club, Mississippi Shuffle and Red Wing Area Food Shelf — to name a few — blossomed with his help. The food shelf, for example, went from operating out of a garage to First Lutheran Church’s basement to the current storefront location on Old West Main Street.

The community honored him as the 1995 Red Wing Neighbor. Despite cancer and cardiopulmonary battles, he didn’t stop what had been essentially full-time volunteering until two years ago. He died Oct. 30 at age 88.

We are thankful for Swanson and all those who have filled and continue to fill such roles.

Thank you for the food we eat.

We live in a land of plenty. Our farmers help feed us and help the world. We have bountiful fields and streams.

Fortunately, the community also has a growing awareness that sometimes friends and neighbors have difficulty putting food on the table.

Examples include:

Packin’ for the Weekend sends food home every Friday with children who rely heavily on school breakfast and lunch.

The Hunger Network served many of these same children meals during the week this summer out of Colvill Family Center.

And First United Methodist Church, with help from civic organizations and other congregations, continues to sponsor Loaves and Fishes meals several Sunday evenings each month, plus will serve the annual community Thanksgiving Day meal.

Thank you for the birds that sing.

The Hiawatha Valley is a place of beauty, but our bluffs and surrounding land also are the vital ecosystem known as the Mississippi Flyway.

Several hundred species of birds rely on the plants, water and prey here for survival while en route to summer breeding grounds in the north or trips to winter homes to the south.

Some of those species — song birds and owls, eagles and hummingbirds — nest here. Some stay all year. They are a blessing.

So are such groups as Izaak Walton League, Red Wing Wildlife League, local chapters of the Audubon Society and Pheasants Forever as well as individual homeowners with backyard birdfeeders who help in many ways.

We indeed have much to appreciate about the place we call home.

Thank you, God, for everything.

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