Veterans were duly honored this year

Editor:

Over the past several weeks, Park City through its various community organizations has shown tremendous appreciation for its Veterans. I have been privileged and honored to participate in a number of these programs and venues which have created awareness and support for the relatively few in our community (5 percent) who have served in America's armed forces in order to defend and preserve the rights and freedoms many take for granted.

Teri Orr and the Park City Institute brought to the Eccles Theatre 'Letters Home', an unforgettable stage play based on the experiences and emotional journeys of deployed soldiers and their loved ones at home as told through their actual letters.

The Park City Council adopted a Resolution recognizing Veterans Day as important in honoring "the men and women who have known the true costs of conflict and deserve our deepest respect."

Many other organizations also hosted programs honoring local veterans including Treasure Mountain Jr. High School, The National Ability Center, Park City's American Legion Post, The Park City Rotary Club, Canines With a Cause, The National Ability Center and the Kimball Art Center.

Park City - take a bow. You have done your Veterans proud this year. But, as Veterans Day and its events fade into memory, please remember that the need to support Veterans and their families in our community continues. Learn how you can help by contacting the National Ability Center, Canines With a Cause and Park City Veterans; they all have websites and Facebook pages.

If you are a Veteran, consider becoming engaged in supporting your fellow Veterans, particularly those just now returning to civilian life. In addition to the aforementioned organizations, you could also join with the American Legion Post, which performs an essential function and is a great bunch of people to hang out with once a month.

To the business community, thanks for your support so far, but there's one more thing we'd like to ask of you. Please make hiring Veterans a priority for your organization in the coming year.

Pete Nixon

Executive Director, Park City Veterans

Athlete is grateful for Utah Olympic Park staff

Editor:

This past week my teammates and I had the opportunity to jump on-snow in our home base here in Park City. The crew at the Utah Olympic Park is entirely responsible for all the athletes having the opportunity to get a few extra days on snow before the rest of the world. When it boils down to it, the crew puts in a ton of work to accomplish the snowmaking and hill work necessary to be able to open an Olympic jump this early in the season. I think I speak for all the U.S. athletes when I say we are lucky and grateful to have the men and women at the UOP at our side. We look forward to coming back in late December for our Olympic Trials.

Bryan Fletcher

U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team

Kids Can Spark Their Own Difference

As I watched last Saturday's TEDx event sponsored by the Park City Day School with my 5th grade son, I thought of the countless times we talk with our kids about making a difference. We have always tried to encourage individual thinking in our household, celebrating the moments when our two children share a unique or less than mainstream idea. However, what struck me as I watched the impressive presentations led by the Park City Day School middle school students was that these kids were not just talking they were turning ideas into action. These kids really believe they can make a difference and you could hear it in their highly passionate voices. From their enthusiastic pre-event promotion on local media outlets to their thoughtful agenda planning to their warm greeting at the door as we arrived, these kids owned this event. At the close, I turned to my 11 year-old and asked him his thoughts. His response, "I think I can do this too mom."

Melissa Brooke

Park City

Community generosity makes garden grow

Editor,

As snow falls to the ground, and the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I would like to extend my sincerest, heartfelt gratitude to the Park City community for the support that has been shown to Hospitality Grounds, a Community Garden at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

In addition to the parishioners of St. Luke's and the many gardeners that have offered their time and muscles to a successful first year, the Home Depot and Stock Building Supply has been incredibly generous with donations of irrigation and building supplies. We would not have seen the success we had without such donations of time, muscle and materials; thus a community garden is born!

Our first year enabled us to share an abundance of produce with the Peace House and the Park City Christian Center. We are looking forward to next year and an even more bountiful harvest! We hope to see everyone in the garden next summer, but until then, we will see you on the ski slopes!

With gratitude,

Shannon Van Der Bosch

Hospitality Grounds Community Garden

Don't forget to acknowledge "Adoption Day"

In addition to other important historical events that we are remembering this week, it is also important to acknowledge National Adoption Day, Nov. 23. As an adoptive parent, I frequently think back to the piles of paperwork and months of waiting that were required to adopt our daughter, Meskele. We finally found ourselves finalizing her adoption at the American Embassy in Ethiopia on the same day the first African-American president was being sworn into office. Now we have the pleasure of celebrating Meskele's free spirit, enthusiasm, talents, and beauty every single day.

Frequently when I am out shopping, I forget how little my daughter looks like me and am surprised by inquiries and questioning looks. However, I welcome the hair suggestions from the manager at The Fresh Market (Argh! The hair!) and any opportunity to promote adoption among prospective parents.

There are times that I feel guilty that I have removed our daughter from her native country — that she will never really experience what it is like to be a part of an African or African-American family or community. This is an ongoing controversy for the international adoption community — an issue only partly addressed by The Hague Convention, which recommends that local adoptive families take priority over foreigners. In addition, our daughter may, in the future, experience more difficulty finding her place in our complex society. We are grateful for the openness and support of the community that is Park City.

About two years ago, I brashly wrote to our daughter's birth father in Ethiopia (via the adoption agency), sending pictures and asking a number of questions. I was told by our agency that the probability of a response was low. In August, approximately 18 months later, we received a letter back — the first, our agency said, that had ever come from an Ethiopian birth parent. The letter was touching and sad, reflecting the ongoing trials that all families in Ethiopia face. Nevertheless, it has opened a new door for Meskele to become more connected with her birth family and ethnicity.

Children need families, regardless if they are in our local community or in a faraway land. After having my first (biological) son, I didn't know if I could love another child as much, but after having a second son and adopting Meskele, I can honestly say that biology and birth order do not matter. They are all loved both equally and ardently.

Kathryn Zwack

Park City