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Victoria Lazos
35
Optometry Dispenser
Single
National City
Interviewed at Horton Plaza

Health, family…but life is hard…my father died this year, a neighbor around the corner died. I’m a single parent with a soon-to-be 18-year-old. Drugs have affected my life…I wish things weren’t so hard…I just hate drugs; they’ve affected my son so horribly. You see? It makes me cry. I definitely wish for better times.

Jason Ball
24
Offensive Lineman for the Chargers
Single
Mission Valley
Interviewed at Viejas Outlet Center

Well, I am thankful for good health and for my family and friends. And I am thankful for the well-being of the nation’s troops and thankful for the effort that the troops put forward overseas. That is something we should all be thankful for.

Mike Mannion
32
Project Manager
Married
Rancho Bernardo
Interviewed in Rancho Bernardo

What am I grateful for? My cell phone! Man oh man, do I love cell phones! They’re the best — they are a great way to catch up with an old friend during a meal in a restaurant. Plus, I can drive while I eat, smoke, and chat! And I never have to know where I’m going, since I can just call ahead and have the person guide me to the location, street by street. Plus, mine is all silvery and metal. It looks real impressive. And the ring is so loud that everyone can hear it within 500 feet. Love that phone!

Macaria Avalos
26
Banquet Server
Single
Pacific Beach
Interviewed at the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park

I had the realization that current events, what’s going on in Iraq — the nation that we live in, the taxes that we have for so many things — I realized all the benefits we have living here in the United States, being an American. We are such a wealthy nation; people don’t realize that. From my travels around the world, I’ve seen how much we have, and people take it for granted. Even those whose parents immigrated here, their children don’t realize. I’m grateful for my health; I have all of my limbs, I’m able to go to the gym, I’m able to run. Those who’ve been in serious accidents, they realize how much they took those things for granted.

Jamie Pollard
33
Merchandiser
Single
National City
Interviewed at Horton Plaza

I’m grateful for my family. My freedom. My family’s not as big as it used to be, so the little bit of family left that I do have, I’m still thankful for. For the most part, they’re local, and I get to see them as often as I like to. As for freedom: with everything that’s been going on, with the war…and troops still dying overseas — and they said the war was over — it makes a difference to know that someone’s still fighting…it may not necessarily be freedom that they’re fighting for, but, you know, it makes you think…

Ariel Ramos
40
Lifestyle Entrepreneur
Single
Oceanside
Interviewed in La Jolla

I’ve gone through so much this past year, lots of personal challenges, and that’s one of the reasons why I opened up my own espresso kiosk, why I made something totally different out of my career. I’m grateful because I’m meeting a lot of new people, enjoying what I’m doing; I have much less stress, and business is doing well. I have no regrets about the change. I’m thankful for all my friends and family, who’ve been very supportive.

Daya Knyht
(M. Raymond Villamor)
“Between 20 and Death”
Drag Queen
Downtown
Interviewed at the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park

I’m happy that I live in a city where I have a job where I can do this [dress in drag] at a fabulous function party. I’m grateful for San Diego: I get to do what I want, support myself doing what I want. I have a fabulous husband, I’m moving into a fabulous place, and it’s a fabulous life. What more could a girl want? Diamonds, honey, diamonds.

Patricia Ortega
38
Sandwich Maker
Single
City Heights
Interviewed at Subway in Rancho San Diego

I am thankful for being clean and sober today. I am a recovering addict, and I’ve been sober almost ten months. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for years. But today I am clean, and it feels awesome, just great. Life is wonderful today, and I can feel that God is working in my life. Overcoming my addiction was the biggest struggle of my life, and now I feel a lot of freedom. Life is getting better every day.

Anita Anton
71
Retired
Widowed
Alpine
Interviewed at the Souplantation in Rancho Bernardo

First of all, I would say that I’m thankful for my son. He’s the most important thing in my life. And his wife. And my dear friends that I have. We always get together at Thanksgiving; I’m never alone. For that I’m very thankful. Even though I’m far away from where I originated. I started out in New York. I’ve been out here for 22 years. That’s a long time. So I have all my friends here, now. I’m very content. Thank God. I just came back from the doctor, and my health is pretty good yet. I’m pretty active. I like to get around. I’m thankful for the fact that I can get around. I see other people who can’t get around, and they’re dependent on others. I’m not. And if I have a need, my friends are right there for me. So I’m thankful for all these things and for God giving me all these things.

Nick Ingrande
28
Teacher
Engaged
Spring Valley
Interviewed at the Festa in Little Italy

I am thankful that I found the girl of my dreams, even though the night I got engaged to her everything went wrong. First, my credit cards were maxed, so I had to use my debit card. I started out the evening by taking her on a gondola ride in Coronado. My girlfriend felt really uncomfortable and could not get into the romantic mood, because, as she put it, “He is staring at us.” When I went to pay for the gondola ride, I found out that I had lost my debit card. So I attempted to give them my maxed-out credit card, and thankfully it went through. Later I took her to dinner, and I had to confess to my girlfriend that I might not have enough credit on my card for dinner and if she could lend me her card… But as luck would have it, again the card went through. I planned to propose to her during a romantic walk, but she did not want to go for a walk; she said it was too cold. I wanted to offer my jacket for the walk, but the ring was inside the pocket of my jacket. Again, luck intervened. She needed to go to the bathroom, and I took my chance to get the ring from the jacket, and when she returned, I offered it to her so I could go on with my plan. We went for the walk, I sat her down on the bench and asked, and without a hitch…she said yes!

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