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Gratitude

There’s an awful lot to be gloomy about right now — so what better time to count your blessings? We asked ECPs to tell us what they’re thankful for and their replies were inspiring.

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IT HAS BEEN a rough year … and it’s not over yet. At times like these, when each day seems to bring another depressing headline or numbing statistic, it’s important to occasionally take a moment to remind ourselves about the things we’re grateful for. Amid all the gloom, we wanted to know what ECPs are thankful for right now.

Judging from the replies, it seems that despite the many woes facing the industry and the wider world, there is still an awful lot to appreciate. ECPs shared their gratitude at being part of an industry that has — while taking some heavy hits — proved pretty darn resilient, for their resourceful and understanding staff, for loyal customers, for the friends and family that have provided the support they need to keep going, for four-legged companionship and even the local liquor merchant. Many expressed thankfulness at continued good health for themselves and their loved ones, when so many around us haven’t been so lucky. We hope that, reading these reasons to be thankful, you’ll come up with a few of your own.

  • I am thankful to be able to work again. No one close to me has gotten sick with the virus. I pray we all continue to strive and survive this. — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
  • Having our amazing patients and the opportunity to help them now. So many other industries are unable to work. We are grateful that with so many options, our patients come to us first. — Nicole Leonard, Custom Eye Care, San Antonio, TX
  • I’m most grateful for my two employees who have never wavered (Matt and Cassie). They have continuously devised ways to safely see patients/customers and have kept in contact with our folks at all times. They are always encouraging, smiling and thinking of how to keep our small unique eyecare ministry thriving in these difficult times. — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, SC
  • That we are in a business that keeps moving forward, innovating and evolving even under duress. If I had to sit home and be useless, it would suck the life right out of me. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • Headphones. Leisa Lauer, Westcliff Optometry, Newport Beach, FL
  • I’m thankful we are still in business and seem to be going strong. Other industries have been hit far harder, and other businesses have closed around us — some that have been open for decades. I’m thankful for health and for family. — Amber Fritsch, OD, Precision Eye Care, Mt. Juliet, TN
  • My employee. She is the reason I made it through this time. — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • Liquor stores and friends! — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • “That I own my building; I have 10 months of expenses saved, no debt, pay cash for most purchases and am able to promote my business locally and nationally. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • Good health. My family is in good health and our staff is in good health. That is not something to take for granted these days. — Annie Thompson, Lawrence Eye Care Optical, Lawrence, KS
  • Even with this COVID stuff we are beating last year’s numbers in optical. Capture rate is up. If the patients are coming in they are getting glasses; otherwise they are holding off for their appointments. Also, our owners! Drs. George E. Fava, MD, and Mark C. Maria, MD, have been extremely kind and responsive to the employees’ needs during this pandemic. Feeling appreciated for what you do is worth so much more than people know. — Miguel Rodriguez, Fava & Maria Eye Associates, Lebanon, PA
  • My grandchildren and children top the list, and getting to spend more quality time with them. — Ken Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • I’m most grateful for my family. I love getting home and getting hugs from the little ones. Just makes all the anxiety and troubles of the world disappear for the night. — Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • The health of my friends and family, and the bonding that has brought us closer. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan KS
  • I am thankful for my optical family. We have each other’s backs, 100 percent. I wouldn’t have made it without them. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
  • I am grateful for my amazing optical team, their resilient spirit and creativity. Grateful for the support and encouragement of my family and extra time to spend with them since we have reduced hours. The simple joys of cooking, gardening and planning a relocation to a new and larger location. — Verbelee Nielsen-Swanson, Oxford Eyes, Orlando, FL
  • I am most thankful for a healthy family, working for a phenomenal doctor that has taken care of all of us through this crazy time, a wonderful job that I get to come to every day, a great staff that works with me, faithful patients that keep our practice alive, and a world that keeps on spinning through it all. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH

  • I’m grateful for my incredible staff. Their passion for all things optical, their support as I had to make difficult decisions for the business, and their willingness to make changes in how we do business, like masks, sanitizing, etc. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • My new husband and the good life we have together! We got married right as the shutdown started and endured some difficult times together, but I think it made us appreciate each other that much more. We each have our strengths and weaknesses and quickly learned how to feed off each other’s traits to make it all work. Best part was a nice, long honeymoon … even if we didn’t get to go anywhere. — Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN
  • I am grateful we are open and that patients are really embracing the new protocols and procedures that keep our staff safe. — Gayle Bergthold, Bee Cave Vision Center, Bee Cave, TX
  • Not to sound cliché, but my wife. She is my business partner, best friend, confidant, lover and the only person to help me keep my head on straight. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • I am grateful that I see signs that things are starting to rebound towards normalcy. I am here, I am healthy, I have a job in a profession that I love, I get to work with an amazing group of people, so I am very grateful. — Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, GA
  • My wonderful staff! I couldn’t have made it this far without them! — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • My cat. He just showed up at the side door of the office. It’s 5:02 pm and he says it’s time to walk home. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • I am happy that my wife is my best friend, since we have spent quite a while together these last few months… — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • I am grateful that I get to allow people to see the beauty in the world. — Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
  • Our amazing patients! They have been glad to come back, happy to comply with our protocols, and eager to spend money. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Right now, I am very thankful for the care and concern Dr. Pascarella has for his staff and patients during these COVID-19 times. He has done so much research on cleaning, protocols etc. I can’t imagine being safer in any other office than ours. — Colleen Galanti, Pascarella Eye Care & Contact Lenses, Newtown, PA
  • Family, our office family, a roof over my head, music, positivity, people looking to help others and work to make the world better. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • My wife, the frame workshop (suddenly picking up clients from all over the US), my bees and my health. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • I am grateful that I am a private practice owner. During COVID, being able to adjust my hours based on my family’s needs has been a blessing. — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • I am most thankful for my family and the minutes that we spend together are cherished! At work, I am most thankful for masks. After all, I want to be around to spend more time with the family. — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St George, UT
  • Thankful to have time to spend with my family and forge a better relationship with my wife and soon-to-be daughter. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • God, my family, and an office that is still running! — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • Grateful that we were considered essential and that I never missed a paycheck. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • I am so thankful for my amazing, supportive customers. I am in awe of how they really came to the surface to purchase eyewear and gift cards to be sure we were going to be OK. I was brought to tears with the generosity. Also, so thankful for my employees. We all cried together a lot the past few months. — Nancy Revis, Uber Optics, Petaluma, CA
  • A staff that has embraced changes that needed to be made to ensure we stay in business. — Steve Geis, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • I am most grateful for having a job during these last seven months. I could not ask for a better boss who takes care of his staff. — Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • I’m so thankful that the pool is open. It’s so damn hot! — Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye, St Petersburg, FL
  • Grateful my employer never closed, and that we put strict protocols quickly in place to protect us and the patients, which allowed us to serve people more efficiently and safely. — Chris Dudley, Lake Eye/Precision Optical, Wildwood, FL
  • People being understanding and realizing that we are all in this together. — Tammy Warmouth, Main Optical, Luzerne, PA
  • My boss. He has been awesome throughout this messy year. — Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care Optical Shoppe, Panama City, FL
  • A healthy family considering I had one child get COVID but get through it as well. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • When our office closed for six weeks I had time with my wife and kids I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy any other way. It was a fantastic season despite the craziness surround it. — Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, GA
  • The best staff! — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI

  • Our loyal staff members who stuck with us through weeks of unemployment and came back to work harder than ever while we’re short-staffed! — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, White Plains and Tarrytown, NY
  • I’m so thankful for my staff. I know so many eyecare providers who could not get employees to return to work when the community reopened. We were able to retain every employee, and all returned with confidence and a willingness to get through this time together. I realize every day that I am lucky to have a talented, positive, forward-thinking team working on behalf of my business. — Becky Furuta, Avenue Vision, Golden, CO
  • I am incredibly thankful that I own my business. I opened when I was comfortable and closed when I wasn’t. I’d prefer not to have someone dictating to me what my fears should be. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville NY
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to still be around to provide services for our patients. Thankful to be OPEN in a time that others are shutting down. Thankful the staff is still all here! Grateful the owner REFUSED to shut down no matter how hard it got or weighed on her. Thank you for hanging tough Eye Can See Eyewear! — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, Hampton, GA
  • I am most thankful that the $600 bonus money for unemployment will end and may afford me the opportunity to restaff my office. I lost two workers and haven’t been able to hire anyone because people are doing so well on unemployment. Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • I’m grateful for the points in my day where I can close my eyes and breathe. Given how busy we’ve been making all the changes to our sanitation procedures, and all of the increased patient traffic from rescheduling the months we were closed, we are busier than ever. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • Grateful our office has been healthy. — Douglas Holle, OD, Sunset Eye Care, San Angelo, TX

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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