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November 21, 2007 - Burlington The Times News - "Alamance County gives thanks"

by Robert Boyer/Times-News

Alamance County gives thanks - thankful, family, ross

Family, faith, friends, health and rock ‘n’ roll are among the things Alamance County folks are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Dylan Setzer and Frankie Hoggard of Burlington are members of Sok Monkee, a local rock band. On Wednesday, the band dished out a little Thanksgiving happiness when it put on a show at The Raven in Burlington.

Setzer, the group’s lead singer, and drummer Hoggard are thankful they get to rock out for their friends. “A lot of people in town you haven’t seen in years,” Setzer said.

But family topped their appreciation list. Hoggard is especially thankful for his 6-year-old daughter. Being a father is “a life-changing experience,” he says. Likewise, Setzer is thankful for Jeron, his 3-year-old son and Bailee, his 13-month-old daughter.

Her mom and an appreciation for life topped Shamika Stewart’s list.

Mom Sheryl Bowe is on dialysis and has been sick. “I’m thankful for my Mom still being alive,” said Stewart, a Cummings High student who is 17. “I’m glad that my parents and my whole family is going to be together again” at the family’s traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Jerrica Turner, also 17, is thankful for good Thanksgiving food, her family and Stewart, her best friend.

Judy Ross lives in the northern Alamance County near Altamahaw. She is thankful for “the love of my life that I’ve been with for 25 years, husband Mike Ross, whom she calls the “checkers champion of Alamance County.”

Ross is also thankful for getting to raise two of her children on a family farm and “our way of life in Alamance County.

“The ability,” Ross said, “to bring our children that way of life.  I don’t see that continuing.”

That’s so because the farm has shrunk over the years; local farmers in general are finding it “less feasible” to continue farming, Ross said.

Iva Pearl Rouse lives in Burlington and is 90 years young. Rouse has lived a full life and is still going strong. She is a Thanks-giving machine of sorts when it comes to listing gratitude. “I’m thankful to God that I have my right mind, and I’m thankful to God that I have wisdom enough to write a book. I thank God because of my health.”

Rouse is a retired nurse. Being a nurse brought many people into her life over the years, something she also appreciates. An ordained minister, Rouse is especially thankful to God for “saving me from my sins.”

Rouse’s family lives in Wilson. She claims Ross as her adopted daughter and is happy to share a Thanksgiving meal with the Ross family. “I’m going to have me a big turkey at Thanksgiving,” said Ross, kidding her second mom.

The first Thanksgiving that sticks in Rouse’s memory came in 1925. It was an unhappy occasion, coming just as her mother died. Nevertheless, Rouse remains thankful for her Christian upbringing, and that she can remember events from 82 years ago.