This is one of those rare years when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will be celebrated on the same day. Whichever you and yours will be celebrating [maybe both!] we all are certain that we have much to be thankful for, although sometimes we won’t admit it.

While we all expressed regret for the people of the Philippines, another wave of devastation hit. This time it was closer to home when tornadoes hit downstate towns, leaving a path of destruction and death.

For Jennifer and Joe Dvorak, it hit close to home. Their close friends, Lindsey and Andrew Grove, lost their home when tornadoes plowed through the small town of Washington.

The young couple was at church at the time, but they returned to what had been their home and was now a pile of rubble. Many of their possessions were lost or appeared to be, including Lindsey’s engagement ring. By what can be termed either a miracle or good luck, they found the ring, along with a few other precious items — their baby’s memory book and a quilt made by Grandma.

In the wake of the storm, Jen And Joe Dvorak loaded their car with supplies and headed to Washington to help their friends. According to Joe Dvorak, though they were not able to get close to where the Grove house had once stood, what they saw was worse than what they had seen on TV.

Friends of the couple have set up a website ( to help the Groves, who, along with their 18-month-old child, are living with relatives until they can rebuild. As time passes they are finding more remnants of their life in the house in Washington — pictures and mementos — but it will be a different Thanksgiving than had been planned.

So as you are getting ready to sit at your holiday table, remember there are people all around who could use your help. Look to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, your local food pantry, St. Vincent DePaul Society and your church to see how you can help, not only at holiday time or when disaster strikes, but all year round.

I of course am thankful for my family which includes you my readers. So Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgiving.

I am now going to look up a traditional Hanukkah dish that can sit on the table next to my mom’s sweet potatoes (now made by daughter Tina), because for Husband Joe this holiday is a lot about food.