Unprecedented 2020…But Still We Give Thanks!


By Lori Leath Smith, Publisher

I believe a spirit of thankfulness is an active choice. To be thankful rather than to complain takes a conscious act of the will. Our response to situations and circumstances, positive and negative, make a huge difference in the outcome.

So, Destin Life asked, “What are you thankful for in an unprecedented 2020?”

This year, I’m thankful for the CONSTANTS in my life despite the uncertainty and uncharted waters we’ve faced this year. My faith, my family, and my friendships have remained steadfast and strong throughout 2020, and if anything, have grown and flourished during a time when we had to step back, reflect, and focus in on the most important things we have in our lives.
~ Maranda Shaye Smith, The Center for Sales Strategy and Josiah’s mom

I am thankful for God’s ever-changing canvas. I am also thankful for the opportunity to live in an area that has so many amazing people characterized with a zeal for life and a giving nature.
~Kay Leaman, HealthyDay, HealthyLife

Of course, I am thankful for all the things most people say…like friends, family and good health. Today, as I write this, I have to tell you just how grateful I am for my wonderful clients! I have had such a pleasurable time working with them—all of them! This week, I helped a wonderful couple, only their second time in Destin, buy their first investment property. They are sooooo excited to own a little piece of our paradise! I really do have the greatest job in the world and I am grateful!
~ Gail Pelto, Keller Williams

I’m thankful for the health of my family and my friends. I’m thankful for the successes of my children Jennings, Alex and Harper. I’m thankful for the members of this business community who stood by the Destin Chamber, supported the Destin Chamber, encouraged the Destin Chamber, and thanked the Destin Chamber for all we did for them during this pandemic. But most of all, I’m thankful to God and his son, Jesus, for watching over us, keeping us safe, and giving us the greatest place to live, work and play! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Everyone!
~ Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP, President/CEO, Destin Chamber of Commerce

I am thankful for the incredible team I work with at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. They are truly the most supportive bunch and make “work” fun every day. I am also extremely grateful for being able to gain the experience I have from working at Baytowne! I have gained so much knowledge of the event planning and marketing industry and it is amazing to be a part of events from the start to the beginning and everything that goes on behind the scenes. Without the support of my Baytowne family and this amazing community, I would never have been able to start my own event company, RaeBird Weddings + Events. Cheers to an eventful 2021!
~Leighanne Elliott

I’m thankful for my amazing and loving family! I’m very grateful for the privilege of serving Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation and the people who have been on this cultural journey with me for the past 22 years.
~Marcia Hull, CEO, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation

I am thankful for God’s love, mercy and grace. I am thankful for my husband, Bob, for our daughter and son and their wonderful spouses, and for our four grandchildren. I am thankful that we are all healthy and that we all love and care for each other. I am truly blessed.
~ Myrna Conrad, writer

There are many things that I am thankful for, mostly, I am thankful for being able to go to work every day. Which means, I have work, I am helping others increase comfort and save, I am cutting CO2 levels, I am educating and teaching, I am providing others with an income and being able to work every day also means I am healthy.
~ Chris Balzer, Emerald Coast Energy Solutions

Dan and I are grateful for the faith of our community to unite in hope and strength; having the internet as a supplemental parent and teacher during the pandemic and quarantines; and having other roads than 98 that aren’t under construction.
~Melissa Jones, Norton Insurance

I’m so blessed to have such an amazing and supportive family. We are so very fortunate to live and be able to work in an amazing and beautiful area of the Florida panhandle.
~ Jason Hall

I am thankful for an unwavering, loving and giving community.
~Julie Porterfield, CEO, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center

I am thankful to be living in this paradise surrounded by my beautiful family and amazing friends!
~ Gregory Durette, Florida Health Connector

I have overwhelming gratitude for my team at Frances Roy. Hillaree, Janae, Kelsey, Jodie, Gregory, Kayla and Rinn are the most agile and resilient individuals I’ve ever worked with and they’ve navigated the unknowns at each and every turn. Proud isn’t the right word but certainly, I am in awe of their efforts. I am most especially grateful for Hillaree Durso – who has grown into her leadership abilities and truly embodies each and every Frances Roy core value.”
~ Shantelle P. Dedicke, CMP, President/Chief Creative Officer, Francis Roy Agency