Hudson residents give thanks for blessings

Community members grateful for family, friends, health, nature

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Western Reserve Academy Archivist and Historian Tom Vince is pictured in his office in the school’s John Ong Library. Vince said he's thankful for family and friends [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal].

HUDSON — The Thanksgiving holiday often provides a moment for people to slow down and reflect on what they're grateful for as another year winds down. 2020 has been a year unlike any other in recent history and has perhaps created an atmosphere where people are more attuned to their blessings. The Hub-Times recently spoke with some community members about what they're thankful for. Here is what they had to say.

Tom Vince

Tom Vince has served as the archivist and historian at Western Reserve Academy for 24 years. Before that, he served as the director of the Hudson Library and Historical Society. Vince has a history segment that is a regular feature on the Good Day in Hudson on Hudson Community Television (HCTV).

Vince said he's thankful that he's been able to "dodge the coronavirus so far," and that WRA has remained open with students on campus. He added he was grateful that HCTV recently aired three of his segments: one on a WRA alumnus from 1943 who was killed in combat in 1944; one for the Hudson Heritage Association on the Railroads of Hudson; and another on the JFK assassination that tells the backstory of Ruth Paine and Marina Oswald, who Vince said are "both still alive as far as I know."

Vince said he's also grateful for family and friends that he stays in contact with.

"I have a great family, sisters and brother-in-law, who live just up the road, and friends that I am regularly in touch with on email," said Vince. "I am grateful for my Hudson friends, especially the couple that I dine with usually four times a week and who often take me to other destinations."

He added his niece and her husband who now live in the Boston area bought a house in Hudson and he noted a wedding in his family is planned for June 2021.

Hudson Community Television Programming Manager Barb VanBlarcum said 2020 has given her an added appreciation for the beauty of nature.

Barb VanBlarcum

Barb VanBlarcum is the programming manager at HCTV. She said she is thankful for "the love and support of family and friends," and added she feels fortunate to live in Hudson because of the leadership provided by city and school officials.

"I think both of these large entities …strive to be excellent and be open, and open to hear residents' concerns," said VanBlarcum. "I think that's a great, unique quality of life in Hudson."

She noted she is also grateful for the "beauty and grace of nature, which I believe has sustained us throughout the year since this COVID has hit. It's really been such a relief to get outside."

VanBlarcum said she's enjoyed venturing outdoors, particularly since she spends a lot of time looking at a screen in a television studio, and added she plans to continue doing so during the winter months.

"I think this year, in particular, I've had an increased appreciation [of] and thankfulness of nature," said VanBlarcum.

She added she saw a lot of people out for walks this year and absorbing what nature has to offer.

"I just felt like it was a unique thing that so many people have appreciated the outdoors this year," said VanBlarcum.

She said 2020 has been a "challenging," but "productive" year for HCTV.

"We've had to adapt to the pandemic," said VanBlarcum, who noted the community television station is providing coverage of city government's virtual meetings, as well as following health and safety protocols while shooting footage for programs such as Hudson Headlines and Good Day in Hudson.

VanBlarcum added HCTV provided coverage of board of education meetings and school events such as the high school graduation parade, a high school awards ceremony and Explorers' football games this past fall.

She praised the "innovative" HCTV staff and volunteer for figuring out how to adapt and adjust to the COVID-19-related protocols.

"The new technology …of streaming and recording video, has really kept the community connected and I have an increased appreciation for it now," said VanBlarcum.

She added city government has been able to continue moving forward with plans and projects because city council and other municipal boards and commissions have been able to continue their regular meetings through the virtual platform.

VanBlarcum also encouraged people to be thankful for their health and to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

Good Day in Hudson host Frank Youngwerth said he's thankful for the two anniversaries he enjoyed in 2020: he and his wife Polly celebrated 60 years of marriage, and Good Day in Hudson marked its 20th anniversary on Hudson Community Television.

Frank Youngwerth

Frank Youngwerth has hosted Good Day in Hudson on HCTV for the past two decades. The show marked its 20th anniversary this past summer with a 90-minute retrospective program. Youngwerth said he enjoys hosting the program and is thankful for the show's longevity.

During the taping of the 20th anniversary program, Youngwerth honored Barb VanBlarcum with the 2020 Good Day in Hudson Citizen of the Year award in a surprise presentation.

"I was tickled pink that finally I was able to do something good for a person that, for the past 25 years, has done so much good for Hudson Community Television," said Youngwerth. "…I'm glad I had the opportunity to do that."

When it became clear that the pandemic would force the cancellation of the 2020 summer music festival, HCTV aired past concerts throughout the season for residents to enjoy.

"I was so satisfied that we were able to do that because I thought it would be terrible to go a whole year after we'd done [concerts] 42 [years] in a row," Youngwerth said. 

Youngwerth said his brother-in-law who lives in Hawaii called him one Sunday to tell him that he was watching the airing of a past Concert on the Green.

It was a year of anniversaries for Youngwerth as he and his wife Polly celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August.

"When you first get married, you wonder how long the two of you are going to be together," said Youngwerth. "…We were able to enjoy the [anniversary] even though it was during the pandemic. I'm very happy and very thankful to be blessed to have such a wonderful marriage that's 60 years-plus."

Youngwerth added that one of his sons received a cancer diagnosis late last year, but after going through chemotherapy and having surgery, "the doctors said [he's] totally clean of all cancer." He shared it made him "very happy" to receive the good news about his son who he "love(s) very, very dearly," and who "is the father of two of the greatest boys in the whole wide world."

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.