A time to give thanks

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By Preston Williams

In a year that as proven to be difficult for many people touched by tragedy, I feel it is important to stop and give thanks. On a personal level I”m thankful for the 10 wonderful years that I have spent working at Gwinnett Center. As our county has grown I”ve watched our facility grow right along with it. We currently have 72 full time employees and 130 part time employees. I”m certainly thankful for all of the hard work and extra hours that go into making our facility a success.

I”m thankful that Gwinnett Center has had a strong 2005. In the Convention Center and Performing Arts Center from January-August we have had 349 events. Of those events 301 were in the Convention Center, 48 in the PAC and a total attendance of 194,741. The Arena has had 67 events from January-August with a total attendance of 580,290. That is a lot of events and patrons to be thankful for and the year isn”t over yet! Our Arena calendar for November & December includes: the Gwinnett Gladiators, Luis Miguel, Depeche Mode, Gwen Stefani with special guest The Black Eyed Peas, The Wiggles, Dolly Parton, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and the Christmas Tour with Steven Curtis Chapman and Mercy Me. Several exciting events will take place in our Performing Arts Center including the annual run of the very popular Nutcracker. Along with playing host to a number of holiday parties, our Convention Center will be used for the Stone Mountain Chorus annual show, a children”s expo and a bead show. As always, event details and information on booking an event can be found on our website,

I”m thankful to live and work in Gwinnett, a county that is growing by leaps and bounds and changes on a daily basis. We are fortunate that business thrives in Gwinnett. And why wouldn”t it with a Chamber of Commerce that works so hard to establish new business and expand existing businesses. We have a Convention and Visitors Bureau that provides information on our wonderful county while working to attract visitors. There are 300,000 jobs in Gwinnett. The public school system alone makes up almost 18,000 of those jobs. Gwinnett is a great place to live and work. I feel extremely thankful to call Gwinnett home.

While I give thanks for a great job, facility and county I realize that others haven”t been so lucky. Many people will be without homes this holiday season. Many have turned to Gwinnett for help. The old Walmart in Lawrenceville acted as a hurricane relief center for several weeks following the tragedy and those agencies housed in the facility were able to distribute over $14 million in assistance. Gwinnett Medical Center, Gwinnett Senior Services and Gwinnett Transit were just some of our local groups that assisted evacuees. Over 2,500 children of evacuee families have entered the Gwinnett County Public School System-the flow of a school day adding some sense of normalcy back to their lives. Isn”t it great that we can realize what a blessed county that we are and reach out to others in need? From myself and all the Gwinnett Center Staff, thank you for making Gwinnett a great place to live and have a wonderful holiday season.

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