Thanksgiving marks off the year for every American the beginning of a “holiday season” of memory, anticipation, and joy – but above all, it begins with thanks.
In my time as a member of the board of trustees of the Germanna Foundation since 1997, I have come to rest on the idea that the heartbeat of the Germanna Foundation rhythmically sounds out two complementary qualities: gratitude and stewardship.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “the God who gave us life gave us liberty.” Those of us who are Germanna descendants can be so thankful to God for allowing us to become who He intended us to be by having been born as Americans in such a time as this. We are grateful that He brought our families out of Europe and settled them at Germanna, on the very edge of civilization. We were not abandoned on the frontier, but led to explore our new country generation after generation – leading to fellow descendant Buzz Aldrin humbly taking communion on the moon, to show gratitude to God on the furthest frontier.
From the founding of Germanna 300 years ago, we enjoy a shared tradition of exploration, from archaeology at Germanna to retrieving rock samples from the surface of the moon. Just this month, Best of America by Horseback shared that Germanna sense of adventure with 47 million American households through the RFD-TV network. Hosted by Tom Seay and Kristen Biscoe (both descendants of Germanna colonists Michael Holt and Anna Scheible), the episode focuses on the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe expedition over the Blue Ridge that started at Germanna. Thanks to our friends at Best of America by Horseback, the entire episode can be viewed at http://bestofamericabyhorseback.com/watch-golden-horseshoe.html. You and your family will see the Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center, Hebron Lutheran Church, and some familiar faces from the annual Germanna Reunions held since 1957 at Germanna.
Members of the Germanna Foundation cultivate those memories and safeguard them in the hearts of the rising generation by means of our Visitor Center, publishing program, archaeology, and preservation of nearly 250 acres of where our story in America began. Our stewardship begins with our heritage, and extends to the gifts of money, friendships and encouraging words that find their way back to Germanna and echo across the generations.
A source of encouragement that wells up at Thanksgiving time is a heritage of God’s faithfulness to members of my family in about 1850. Every year, my family shares this story with friends and family alike, and I hope you will pass it on as well – because Germanna people are a people marked by gratitude and stewardship.
J. Marc Wheat
PS: We’re in the midst of our end-of-year fundraiser and by now you should have received the mailing that shows everything your Foundation is working on. 90% of our funding comes from people like you and for that we are so grateful.