Dennis Lyons

Forget thinking about preparing the turkey, stuffing and green bean casserole for a few moments, if you will.

Take a time out from thinking about your holiday shopping plans.

Company coming? Not to worry. Your relatives and/or friends will get there when they get there. 

It’s worth taking time out to remember that Thanksgiving Day is first and foremost about being thankful.

Even if the past year has been a struggle at times, there are blessings to be celebrated.

I won’t presume to list them here. You know what they are for you.

I will say this. One of the things I love about being a newspaper editor is getting to meet or at least read about people around us every day who are there to help. 

Just this week, we published a story about Rhonda Fisher, who has been working with volunteers she calls “angels” to stage a Thanksgiving dinner in Sunbury for 21 years.

We told you about Coyla Bartholomew, a Danville Area High School sophomore who is organizing what she calls the Jingle Bells Race for a second year to help classmates pay for such milestone events as the prom and the senior class trip.

We wrote about Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Christie Ziegler executive director of Haven Ministry.

We don’t just write about people like this as the holidays approach. There are too many doing too much good work to limit their stories to such a short period of time.

But there’s no better time than now to put out my annual call for nominations for The Daily Item’s “People Who Make A Difference” holiday series of stories.

Every year since I became editor in 2015, we have asked readers for their suggestions about people who have a real impact on our communities and the people who live in them.

This will be our fifth year of doing this program. Each year, the number of nominations has steadily increased.

As I have explained in this space before, I spent eight years working as an editor at USA TODAY before coming to the Susquehanna Valley. Prior to that, I worked for Gannett, USA TODAY’s parent company, for about 30 years.

Gannett launched “Make A Difference Day”  in 1992 in partnership with the Points of Light Foundation. Involvement with that program gave me the inspiration for our annual series.

If you know someone who spends time giving unselfishly of their time and talents, I’d ask that you send us an email about them at

Please include “Make A Difference” in the subject line. Tell us, in a few paragraphs, what they do and why you are nominating them.

We will get back in touch with you about your nominations and choose nine people to profile from among them between Christmas Eve Day and New Year’s Day. We’ll also publish a bit about all of the nominees.

I hope you think this is a worthwhile project and that you’ll help us pull it together. We’ve already started publishing a reminder box about this series in the paper and online every day. We’ll do that between now and mid-December. 

Thanks in advance for your help. And thanks, most of all, to the many people who deserve to be recognized. 

I know we won’t hear about all of you, but those whose lives you make better know who you are and appreciate you.

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