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The Gratitude Project

The community you live in can have such an impact on your life. A neighbor who lends you their lawn tools, or gets your mail when you’re out of town, or calls at night to let you know your garage door is open, is the kind of neighbor we all want. In a good community, you’ll find these types of neighbors - looking out for each other - supporting each other in good times and bad.

Last week was another reminder of the good community I live in.

On July 2nd, SpirFit hosted the first Family SpirFit Night & Gratitude Project. People of all ages and backgrounds were invited to come together to stretch, pray for our country, and carry out a gratitude project for our local Veterans.

People brought their kids, their spouses, their neighbors. It was a delight to see so many faces of all ages.

We started the evening with some stretching exercises - such as standing tall like a Flag Pole and stretching like a Star.

Then, we all bowed our heads and said this beautiful prayer.

Next, it was time to get messy. The kids got to painting beautiful artwork for our Veterans, and the parents wrote thank you cards to residents at our local V.A. Medical Center.

There are 92 residents at our V.A. 60 are homeless. The other 32 are there to receive specialized medical attention for PTSD. They come from all over the country for this program. ... These are a few facts I learned shortly before hosting Family SpirFit Night. Which is such a shame, since these Veterans are my neighbors. My kids and I walk past the V.A. building all the time. It’s near our favorite park and ice cream shop. But I don’t think my kids, or even I, ever really saw the building. Saw it, that is, for what it truly is: the faces of American heroes, their caretakers, their stories, the surgeries, the therapy, the anguish and joy that is behind those red brick walls.

A small group of us delivered our gifts to the Veterans on July 3rd. That's when I realized how important this Gratitude Project truly was. The Veterans were so delighted to receive our modest gifts. They took selfies with the kids. Shook the adults hands. One Vet said, “It’s really nice to know that people care.” Their gratitude was so genuine.

I love Fourth of July as much, if not more, than the next person. (Just ask any of my closest friends.) I love the parade, the cookouts, the fireworks. But most of all, I am filled with gratitude on this day. I'm so thankful to God for creating this land, thankful for our freedom and rights, thankful for the brave souls that sacrifice their health and lives to protect us, and thankful to be able to celebrate life with my family and community.

To those who came to the Family SpirFit Night - THANK YOU. You filled my heart. But most importantly, you touched many Veterans' hearts. Your support and involvement was such a gift.

Lastly, to our Veterans, I am humbled by your gratitude and by you welcoming us into your “home”. THANK YOU for your service and sacrifice. May God always keep you in His loving care.

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Thank you for hosting such a fun and meaningful night, Jess!! The boys noticed the veterans at the parade and continued to talk about them. The lesson really stuck!

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