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Toledo, you taught me.

Toledo,

More than anything, I want to thank you for investing in me. From a wonderful childhood to making my way through adulthood, you have raised me and given me every opportunity a girl could ask I am thankful for: love, culture, a top notch education, many homes, and you have fed me well.

I am a third generation Toledo-ian. My grandparents made a home here when my grandfather graduated from the first Toledo Police Department class, and my grandmother was a nurse at Riverside hospital. Both of my parents were raised here, they went to school and church in the neighborhood where they would eventually raise my sister and I, and the neighborhood in which I would eventually meet my husband. Now, after moving just a little outside, I have returned to you Toledo to plant my own roots for my own future family.

Feeding ducks at walbridge park with my grandfather, endless trips to the zoo, and wonderful neighborhoods to grow up in are just a few of the gifts I am thankful for as a child. As a teenager you cultivated my leadership skills and cultural growth in your public school system. Toledo provided my friends and I a coffee shop, a world class library, and an art community downtown that gave us identity and purpose in a time of life when we were so desperately vulnerable to change. Your esteemed university humbly taught me lessons on life, love, professionalism, and balance. And just when I felt like I had to move on to pursue goals and a career, it was the guidance of you, Toledo, and the Holy Spirit, that kept me here.

There is a point in everyone’s life when you have to decide whether you are going to accept or change your situation. Sometimes, the change that needs to be made is a heart of gratitude and appreciation. Toledo, you taught me that. I thank you for your love and support, you have invested in me through each stage of my life. You taught me that Toledo is a city that won’t accept giving up, or slowing down. Even during the toughest times, we will keep moving forward, and even against the toughest criticism, those you have raised will build this city up.

We meet up with Jess at our wonderful Main Library downtown as it is a place very close to her heart. She spent a lot of time there growing up – first in the children’s library when she was little, and then in amongst the chemistry text books in the reference library while she studied for her pharmacy degree at UT. If you want to learn more about Jess, and her love and connection to her city, check out her blog at simplyjess.us 

 

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