She’s had 23 surgeries and been in a wheelchair since 1983. Here’s why she’s so thankful today.

Kathy Mumford has been wheelchair bound for 23 years, but on this Thanksgiving, she says she is blessed to have such a wonderful family.
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Kathy Mumford has been wheelchair bound for 23 years, but on this Thanksgiving, she says she is blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Kathy Mumford has endured 23 surgeries in the nearly four decades since she almost died in a car crash.

Physical pain has left the 63-year-old former registered nurse in a wheelchair and unable to do much of what she once did.

Still, the Butler Twp. woman is thankful for what she has.

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“There is no better gift than family,” Mumford said, noting how diverse hers is.

Her husband, Sonny, and their three adopted children provide her the support she needs, she said.

“Everybody in my family has just been so wonderful to me, and it is hard to even begin to explain how supportive they’ve been,” Mumford said. “I am in terrible pain every day, and it’s a struggle. But at the end of the day, we sit and pray and are thankful for what we have.”

The Dayton Daily News asked our readers what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The responses included the traditional, from food and football to family, but many people expressed underlying themes of love for each other and community, respect for those in the military and first responders, plus hope for the future. Here are some of their stories:

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Kathy Mumford

Mumford has been in a wheelchair since 1983, she said.

“I was in an automobile accident in Dayton that left me with severe nerve damage, and I just didn’t think I was going to make it,” Mumford said.

Nearly two dozen surgeries didn’t solve her pain problems, but her family has been there to help.

“It always hasn’t been an easy path,” Mumford said.

Her husband of 44 years, Sonny, a 65-year-old retired plumber, has been by his ailing wife’s side through thick and thin.

“Sonny always tells everybody that we are good together, and never does he make it sound like he’s given up everything to take care of me,” she said. “We are like the best friends ever.”

The couple has three children, Brandon, 38, Sean, 36, Amanda, 34, who are all adopted.

Mumford’s late parents, Joseph and Charlene Campbell, were foster parents in Montgomery County.

“I think they had 375 foster children during their lifetime,” she said.

Her husband’s mother Mary is 96 and still going strong,

“Our family is so diversified. We have seven grandkids, and I have seven brothers and sisters; one sister is African-American. My husband had eight siblings in his family,” Kathy Mumford said.

She said the joy of family is something to be very thankful for during Thanksgiving this year.

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Jeanette F. Patton

The Dayton woman feels it is important to remember not only family, but those who work hard on a daily basis in our surrounding communities.

“Of course, I am thankful for my loved ones, food and shelter; however, some more good things come to mind also like our trash collectors, and the DP&L workers, who work hard in times of power outages to restore it, and especially our first responders, who need all the support we can give them,” Patton said.

George and Wendy Parker

The Greene County couple live on the road with their truck driving business and her online magazine “the George and Wendy Show,” which chronicles the couple’s life on the road. They are thankful for the opportunities that living in America provides them.

“We’re thankful to live in a country of great abundance. We’re thankful for our family, and the ability to celebrate holidays as we choose,” the Parkers said. “We’re thankful for the veterans who have assured our freedom to live, worship and work in our own way, on our own terms. We’re so blessed and fortunate to have such an amazing list of things for which to be thankful.”

Ron Houck

Houck, the founder of the Wharf tobacco superstore in Beavercreek, has entertained people from all walks of life in his store, from pastors to Playboy models. He said he is thankful for the many pleasant memories over the years.

“I am grateful and thankful for the friends and family that I still have left after living such a long and healthy life,” Houck said. “Most of my friends and family are gone, but I am glad that the ones I have left can come together and enjoy the holiday.”

Nicole Sam

The Bellbrook woman is also thankful for the work of first responders, plus the joy of online shopping during Black Friday so she doesn’t have to “have to battle the Christmas crazies.”

“I’m thankful for family because it’s the foundation,” Sam said. “My children, they bring me such joy, and a home to build memories in, and health. Friends, for giving me some ‘me’ time. Safety and security — we live in a country where our military and first responders sacrifice so we don’t have to.”

Connect Centerville

Megan LeMaster, the brainchild of the Connect Centerville initiative, a program designed to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families, is thankful for all of the community’s support and participation in helping the program grow.
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Megan LeMaster, the brainchild of the Connect Centerville initiative, a program designed to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families, is thankful for all of the community’s support and participation in helping the program grow.

Megan LeMaster has guided the launch of the Connect Centerville initiative, a program designed to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families. She is thankful for the many families in the program, and they, in turn, expressed their appreciation for it and for other many other things this Thanksgiving week.

Shuqin Chen, mother of a first-grade student originally from China, said, “I’m thankful for family members and the tremendous support kids get from Centerville Schools’ teachers and bilingual tutors.”

Saef Naser Nawabeet, the father of students in Centerville schools, moved here from Egypt this year. He said, “I’m thankful for God. I have a job and can feed my family and have a happy life. Thanks to God.”

Jean Carlo Mella is a Centerville High School senior, originally from the Dominican Republic. He said he’s thankful for the freedom and the potential in the United States.

“I’m thankful for opportunities that Centerville has presented me and my family,” he said. “We moved from Santo Domingo to California when we came to the States. However, it was not until I came to Ohio when I learned about the concept of the American dream: if you work hard, you will get rewarded.”

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An Iranian family is thankful for the chance to have a better life here in the states.

Dr. Mohammad Dehghani Tafti gave up his career as a dentist and started over as a truck driver here. Even though somebody recently referred to him as a terrorist, Tafti said he is glad to be here legally and working to be a productive member of society.

“I wish for the day that there won’t be any boundaries and walls, except love,” he said. “My family is happy here. I want to say we love everybody in the world.”

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Amy Hayslip

Amy Hayslip, pictured with her husband, Mike, is thankful for family, friends and the work of first responders.
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Amy Hayslip, pictured with her husband, Mike, is thankful for family, friends and the work of first responders.

Hayslip works for the city of Kettering as an administrative assistant in the city manager’s office. Both her son and daughter-in-law are law enforcement officers, and they will be working on Thanksgiving , keeping their communities safe.

Hayslip is thankful “for friends and family that I can count on to be there in good times and bad. I am thankful for our local first responders who work on holidays to keep us safe and are there for us in times of need.”

Cara Hieb

Hieb’s husband, Matthew, a long-time employee at Dorothy Lane Market, passed away recently, but she’s thankful for all of the support shown to the family.

“I am overwhelmed with a depth of gratitude for those who come alongside us when we need help the most,” she said. “Both in celebration as well as in grieving, those who step in and do what you didn’t even know you needed … are the most amazing blessing.”

Lisa VanDyke

The Kettering resident says she is thankful “for my family, especially my two boys and my boyfriend, whose continued health and happiness mean everything to me. Also, I’m thankful for the fun and supportive medley of friends I’ve collected over the years. Beyond that, I’m grateful for the contentment that comes with getting older!”

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