By Andy Kriege, YSN

“Be thankful for what you have and work hard for what you don’t!”— Anonymous

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving, YSN reached out to several retailers, vendors and affiliated group members to ask them what they are most thankful for during this extraordinary year. Today is the third and final installment of this three-part series.

While the responses have been varied, the recurring theme in all of them has been a renewed appreciation for family. This Thanksgiving week we invite you to focus on your family and to be filled with a spirit of gratitude for what they truly mean to you.

While our bellies are still feeling stuffed and we look to the upcoming holidays, we should try to carry forward this newfound family spirit that has brought us closer together through the remainder of the pandemic and beyond.

As I wrapped up this piece it got me thinking more about my own family and what they mean to me. I would be remiss if I did not include them here as well.


The extended Hillebrand family enjoys a day at the beach a few years back in Wildwood, N.J.

“2020 has been a year to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. I am very thankful for my entire family, whom I have the honor of working with every day, and for our amazing employees who have dealt with adversity and changed on a dime to make Don’s Appliance a stronger company and allow us to serve our great community. I am thankful for our extended family at BrandSource, without whom we would not have been able to strive and grow in 2020. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving!”—Tim Hillebrand, Don’s Appliances, Pittsburgh, Pa.


Emmalynn Rose with Kara and Jerod Morgan

“I am most thankful for my family. The time we have all received during COVID has allowed us to once again get to know our families — something I feel many of us lose focus of during the hustle of everyday life. My husband Jerod and I have custody of my 4-year-old niece. She means everything to us. In the days of working from home it’s easy to forget what we work for, and my reason has and always will be family. To my family, The New England Group’s employees and families, our members’ families, and to future generations, Happy Thanksgiving!” Kara Morgan, Director of Marketing/Member Services, The New England Appliance & Electronics Group (NEAEG)


The Cook Family: Collin, Alysia, Kaylee, Tyler (with dog Guster), Spencer, and Emma in the front row. Not pictured is son Bradley, away on church missionary.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work and provide for my family. I’m grateful for the extremely hard work of the employees that make our company what it is. I consider them all family. I’m also grateful for the country we live in and the freedoms it affords us, and for those who have made and continue to make that possible. #GiveThanks”— Collin Cook, Blacker’s Complete Home Furnishings, Idaho Falls, Id.


The Cole family of Alex, Emily and son Micah, hiking recently in the Smokey Mountains

“This year I am especially thankful for time spent as a family. Our son Micah just had his first birthday and what a blessing he has been during the difficult times we are all facing.”— Alex Cole, Cole’s Appliance & Home Furnishings, Tawas City, Mich.


The Kriege Family: Kate, Andy, Maggie and Jack

“It is ironic that COVID, the great accelerator, has forced me to slow down and embrace the extra time that I have been gifted with the ones I love the most. Whether it is long walks with my wife and/or daughter (and always the dog), or the ‘Let’s take this apart and try to fix this before we buy another one’ projects with my son, this bonus time spent with family has been a godsend. I have been blessed and am most thankful for the gift of family time the lockdown has afforded me.”—Andy Kriege, GM of Communications, AVB/BrandSource