By NJ Clausen
Hello Everyone! Merry Christmas! My gift to you this season is an interview with one of the kindest, most involved, generous women I know. When I first approached her about this article, she hesitated. Unlike David and Danny, she does not own her own business. Very much like them, however, she has a big heart and a strong character…plus a great sense of humor. Allow me to introduce you to Elizabeth Thomas.
Elizabeth Thomas and her family moved to Kernersville 23 years ago from Denver (near Charlotte), NC. When first considering a move here, the biggest store was the K-Mart. After a stop at the church and talking to a member of the office staff, they knew that they were in their new hometown.
The move was prompted by the work transfer of her husband Scott, but their home and the adjacent land was chosen to honor a promise to their daughter that when she turned 14 years old, if possible, they would get her a horse. They did a great deal of work to turn their house and land into a home those many years ago, and like many others, utilized the 2020 Covid restrictions to renovate and create.
One of the many reasons Elizabeth has enjoyed raising her children here were all the parks and the opportunities to go hiking and biking. She shared a story with me about Stormy, a collie they had, and why they could not have a swing at home. This collie was a rescue, and he thought a swing at home was too dangerous and did not understand why the parents were letting these young children go on swings. He also felt that the pool was unsafe and tried to pull the kids out of the water, which inevitably led to him being put in a different area. They could not bring him to the park, as he was so protective and tried to cut ‘his sheep’ out of the herd. However, they could all go hiking together and had many happy hours exploring nature.
Elizabeth has been involved in a variety of different community programs, even before her arrival in Kernersville. One example would be Room at the Inn, which differs from other programs as it assists mothers of multiple children to become educated and find a career. It also gives the community an opportunity to come together and make a difference in breaking the cycle and changing lives. Another ministry that Elizabeth feels strongly about is tending to the bereaved after a loved one has passed, often at a reception at the church. Her mother was also involved with this corporal act of mercy, sharing with her daughter that at this time people are very vulnerable and they are in need of care. This ministry allows the family to come together after the funeral and burial, giving the family time to grieve together and time to share tears and laughter over stories. When asked what motivates Elizabeth, she responded that it makes her grateful for the opportunity to step in and help people, and it feels great to be the hands and the feet to serve others.
As Christmas will soon be here, when questioned about what Elizabeth considers the best gift to give or receive, her answer was time. Being present to people near to you and to the people who need you. There are many opportunities to reach out, as there are many lonely people. We may think it does not matter, but it does—it matters to God. When asked if there was anything Elizabeth would like to share with her friends and neighbors, her response was that people need to know that they matter…whoever they are, whatever they do, they matter. We miss people when they are not there; they count. It takes all of us to make up this community.