With the new year on the horizon and the holiday season in full swing, The Epoch Times went around New York asking people to reflect on 2018 and tell us what they are thankful for.
Steve Nietupski at Bryant Park, N.Y., on Dec. 14, 2018. (Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times)
Steve Nietupski, 65, arborist
The economy and our great president. I think he’s really on track, he doesn’t take any guff from anybody. He’s tough but fair, and he’s digging for us, he’s hoping for us, he’s going to make things better. I think it’s crazy that they still go after our president for the election two years ago. It’s so unreasonable.
I do think this is a good time for America, but I also think we have many complex problems. Illegal immigration is a big one. Immigration is a good thing—my parents were immigrants, my grandparents were immigrants, but they went through the process legally. That’s a good thing because we’re a nation of immigrants. But illegal immigration is a huge problem because it’s costing us Americans money, and it’s not fair.
Christian Probst, 24, actor
Julie Probst, director of events, Variety, the Children’s Charity of St. Louis
Christian: My health and being able to do what I love every day. I’m a performer, so I’m lucky to have a job as an actor. I’m going to go home this year for the holidays for the first time, but I’m lucky to be here in New York doing what I love.
Julie: I’m just thankful that I have three great healthy, amazing kids. I have some great friends, too. I’m just really thankful to be living in America and getting these opportunities, and getting to visit and travel and spend time with my son. I work with a charity, Variety, the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. We reached a goal this year, so it was really great. I went to a couple of events.
Christian: Working with mentally and physically challenged children, getting the resources, the programs, and the therapy they need, so it’s really great.
Julie: We have had different events that go on. This year, we had an event called “Dinner With the Stars,” and John Legend came to St. Louis. He sang and performed, and we have some really great amazing donors in St. Louis. So I’m grateful for that.
Dick Knutson, 79, retired
My family. One of my grandsons got married this year in St. Augustine, Florida. He’s 25 years old. I’m here visiting another grandson. I have five grandsons and five granddaughters, and the family is spread all over the country, from one coast to the other. Hopefully, we’ll all be together for Christmas.
Don Dauernhern, 69, airline industry
Maria Dauernhern, 57, admin in finance
Alexandra Dauernhern, 23, student
Don: I’m thankful for this family I have. I wake up every day and I’m grateful for that. We’ve traveled a lot, we’ve been to some interesting places, we went to Budapest, we went to Vienna, we went to Bratislava—that was really interesting—and we went to Dubai, another interesting place.
Alexandra: I passed all my classes.
Maria: I’m thankful for my family and health.
Emilio Fox, 72, mentor
Melanie Fox, 64, school leadership coach
Mrs. Fox: Blessings. We have everything to be thankful for. We have a beautiful life. I came out of retirement to go back to work.
Mr. Fox: She went into retirement and was miserable, so she went back to work part-time, and now she’s very happy.
Mrs. Fox: I’m going to work till I’m 85, I’m a school leadership coach, and work with school principals to turn around schools. I’m inspired by my mom, my husband, and kids, and their future, being able to touch their future. I may have a little impact somewhere along the line.
Mr. Fox: I also retired a long time ago, but I didn’t stay retired—I went to work mentoring school principals, and I like it a lot. I have a lot of freedom.
Mrs. Fox: It keeps you young with your own kids.
Mr. Fox: I work with kids and I work with teachers who are kids—very young—and principals who are kids for me now. We have each other, we have grandchildren, and we have a wonderful life. This is my birthday gift, by the way.
Mrs. Fox: We went to see Hamilton last night.
Mr. Fox: We’ll never see anything like it again.
Mrs. Fox: It’s my favorite now, for sure.
Karen Hill, 58, housewife, lives in Saudi Arabia
Mrs. Hill: I’m from England, currently in Saudi Arabia with my husband, who works there in the British military. We’re posted out there for three years. In the year we’ve been there, things have really changed. I still have to wear an abaya all the time, but they’re now trying to employ more women because they want more Saudis to be in jobs. When I first went there, men didn’t really want to serve me at deli counters, because men aren’t allowed to speak to women. But now, things are really changing, with the new crown prince. It’s much better now, it’s not so restrictive. It’s a really interesting country.
Because I can’t drive, I have to go everywhere with my husband, which is unusual for someone from England. I would normally go off shopping on my own, but I can’t do things like that in Saudi Arabia. But now, the ban is being lifted on female drivers. It’s very Muslim. It’s all very interesting.
My son just bought an engagement ring, so I think he’s going to propose to his girlfriend, which is very nice. I’m not sure when because he’s very laid back, but he’s got the ring now, so we’re looking forward to it—it might happen.
Kurt James, 29, entrepreneur
I’m thankful for the gift of God, family, health, opportunity. I’m thankful for my mom.
It’s the fact that we live in America, there’s so much opportunity, even when you’re poor, there’s always opportunity. You’ve always got to have a positive outlook. I feel I’m not at my most efficient form, athletically and in life—I need to cut my weight down. I’m in the process of losing weight; I was 260 pounds, I’m 243 now, and I aim to be 200 pounds by April. I’m staying away from everything here that has carbs.
Lisa Libowitz, 55, writer
I’m thankful that my daughter graduated from college. I’m thankful my other daughter got engaged. I’m thankful that my family is healthy. I’m thankful that I have a really lovely life with friends and family in it.
I’m hoping that more people in this country can enjoy those kinds of benefits.
Maria Ojeda, 54, manager, from New Jersey
Manny Garcia, 52, manager, from Florida
Maria: My family. He’s my first cousin who’s just come to visit me, I haven’t seen him in 10 years.
Manny: We’ve talked, but we haven’t seen each other physically.
Maria: Thoughts for the next year for people to have peace, be happy, and [be] prosperous.
Tony Rocha, 68, physician
Cathy Rocha, 57, nurse
Mr. Rocha: I’m thankful very much for the health that I have, and I’m thankful for the wife that I have, that God gifted to me.
Mrs. Rocha: I’m thankful for the peace in our family. It hasn’t always been peaceful, so I feel very blessed this time of year, we’re doing well. God is good.
Mr. Rocha: God is good all the time. We’re just going to spend more time with each other in the New Year and make sure that we enjoy what life we have left together. When you have God in the middle of your relationship, it’s always good.
Chelsea Rubin (L), 25, blogger
Anna O’Brien, 34, YouTube vlogger
Chelsea: I’m thankful that my family and friends are healthy. I’m just trying to go into the New Year as positive as possible.
Anna: I’m thankful for this pup right here: This is Data. I hope that 2019 is less painful than 2018.