My Thanksgiving Hero

My Thanksgiving Hero

Grandma R

My friends at The Daily Meal recently contacted me to ask about my
Thanksgiving hero. They didn’t want to hear a story about someone who wore a
cape (although that would be very cool), but someone who works tirelessly on
Thanksgiving to keep us safe and enable the rest of us to enjoy the holiday
with our families. Thanksgiving heroes are the hardworking doctors, nurses,
military, emergency personnel and other generous individuals who sacrifice time
from their families in order to provide us time with ours.

While I don’t have
any close friends or family who fall into the Thanksgiving hero category, I do
have a personal hero. It’s someone who is near and dear to me but have never
actually met. This person, who ranks above everyone else, is my husband’s
(maternal) grandmother. The reason why I never got to meet her is because she
passed away a few years before my husband and I met.

Grandma R, as we
affectionately call her, was full of life. Her days were centered around her
family. She, along with her husband, raised 5 children on a farm in the Midwest.
Every morning, Grandma R would wrangle up the older kids, and together they’d
tend to the livestock on their property. They milked cows, fed the pigs and
took care of the lambs and chickens. Then they had countless acres of farmland
to maintain. She did this day in and day out.

Grandma R and her family’s farm, circa 1980

As the years
passed, she became a grandmother to 14 grandchildren. Thanksgiving Day was
always an event. Not only did she take care of all the daily farm activities,
but she always cooked a full feast for that evening’s dinner. Grandma R made
everything from scratch – from the homemade German noodles to a plethora of
pies for dessert (she was well-known for her
apple pie). She sourced
everything from her own land and only went to town to buy things like flour and
sugar. No, Grandma R wasn’t a hero in the sense of sacrificing her time to help
lives of countless strangers like a typical Thanksgiving hero, but she did
sacrifice time and sleep in order to ensure mouths were fed and tummies were

It must have taken
her days to prepare everything – either that or she didn’t sleep in the days
leading up to Thanksgiving! My husband fondly recalls the large mound of mashed
potatoes that Grandma R would whip up – enough to feed about 30 people each
holiday. As the grandkids (and family) grew, so did the pile of mashed

On her wedding day

Grandma R is my personal
Thanksgiving Hero because she had it all together – and did it with a smile.
Her food, which I unfortunately never got to taste, was made from love and with
the freshest ingredients from her farm. She meticulously prepared and cooked
everything by hand and enjoyed watching her family grin ear to ear from each
morsel they devoured. Grandma’s love was evident in her Thanksgiving feast.
Every family member that I’ve talked to has recalled many fond memories of
eating at Grandma’s house.

I wish that I had
the opportunity to have met Grandma R while she was alive. We keep her spirit
alive by baking her pies and talking about the great memories she created for
everyone in the family, especially around Thanksgiving. I even named my
daughter after her (my daughter’s middle name is Grandma R’s first name). So
Grandma is definitely with us every day. My husband keeps telling me that
Grandma R would have loved to have baked with me since we are kindred spirits
in that way. I would have enjoyed spending time with her in the kitchen and
learning how to make her special dishes.

Thank you,
Grandma, for the loving spirit you’ve instilled in each of your family members
and for being my Thanksgiving hero. I hope that my little family and I make you
proud and that you’re smiling down upon us.

Even though I
didn’t tell you about a Thanksgiving hero who works on the holiday to keep us
safe, you now know who my personal Thanksgiving hero is. I’d love to hear about
your Thanksgiving hero. Who in your life works on Thanksgiving to keep our
communities safe – think hard-working men and women like the military, firefighters,
police, doctors and nurses. They sacrifice the holiday so that we can spend
time with our families. Do you know of a Thanksgiving hero who could use a
break? Nominate that individual for a chance to win a fully catered Thanksgiving
feast. It would be a wonderful way to show him or her your thanks and why you
consider him or her a hero. More details are below.


This holiday season, La Brea Bakery, the nation’s top Artisan bread brand, is
giving people the chance to say “Thank You” to their loved ones who have to
work on Thanksgiving with a surprise gift – a Thanksgiving meal brought
directly to their place of work. Through the Thanksgiving Heroes page, the company will be accepting
nominations for the Thanksgiving Hero in people’s lives. On Thanksgiving Day,
ten winners, selected from across the country, will be surprised and delighted
with a Thanksgiving feast, courtesy of their family, friends and all of America
who nominated.

Key details to get
involved are below:

Timing for the
campaign: November 1st – November 20th – nominations will
be accepted during this time frame.

Ten chosen nominees from around the
country will be selected to receive a fully catered feast delivered to their
place of work (as a surprise!) on Thanksgiving Day. They’ll get to enjoy it
with their family, friends and colleagues, and know that their loved ones think
they are true Thanksgiving heroes. If your hero is selected, you will win a
$500 gift card.

To make a nomination, visit Your entry should
include why your nominee deserves to win (in 100 words or less) and a photo of
your hero.

For more information, visit





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