This time of year always brings thoughts of Thanksgiving Day and all that special day means–sumptuous aromas from the kitchen, the time spent with loved ones and a chance to ponder the things for which we are truly thankful.

We can be thankful for some extraordinary people in our midst. Ruth Ann Segerstrom Moriarty, the final surviving member of the C.J. Segerstrom family, represents a family that made possible a major performing arts center–Segerstrom Center for the Arts–as well as one of the most successful retail centers in the world–South Coast Plaza. Their largesse transformed Orange County. We can also thank Elizabeth and Tom Tierney, who are receiving National Philanthropy Day’s top honor, the Legacy Award, for their 30-year commitment to giving. Ask anyone from UC Irvine or Goodwill of Orange County, to name a few, about this remarkable couple’s contributions.

We can also be thankful for Ben Carlson, a revered Newport Beach lifeguard, who gave his life while rescuing another. The newly-unveiled Ben Carlson Memorial with its life-size statue demonstrates the thanks of a community, and the Ben Carlson Scholarship Foundation and its mission to award deserving students with significant scholarships is to be commended.

You will enjoy our salute to food in this issue, in particular in reference to Thanksgiving dinner. Suzette Zara features some quick and easy sides for the all-important repast–a cheddar corn casserole and some yummy, what she calls, “Stuffing Muffins.” Deirdre Michalski has prepared a booklet for her family that holds all her secrets for a successful Thanksgiving dinner in Parting Thoughts, and the Sip & Shuck (Champagne and oysters) benefit at Driftwood Kitchen and The Deck in Laguna Beach on November 13 from 2-6 p.m. is raising funds for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

I know you feel the same pride I do when I see local athletes achieve amazing feats. This issue highlights a few of them: Kaleigh Gilchrist, who recently returned from Rio with a gold medal, thanks to her and her teammates’ efforts in water polo; April Ross, who with partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, won a Bronze Medal in beach volleyball in Rio; Jason Lee is known as an actor, awesome skateboarder and co-founder and co-owner of the skateboard company Stereo Skateboards, which raises awareness for breast cancer through Keep A Breast Foundation. And, finally, Courtney Conlogue, the surfing phenom, who is shaking up the surfing world as the second-ranked female surfer in the world.

In closing, I wish you a time of reflection on your blessings at Thanksgiving and a wonderful day spent with family and friends enjoying what I consider one of the best meals ever!

Until next time,

Donna Bunce, Editor