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Thanksgiving Letter From The CEO

Thank you from all of us at Armstrong Steel

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It seems so uncluttered. The holiday has managed to escape the commercialization of Halloween and Christmas. There’s something genuine in the simplicity of Thanksgiving. No lavish decorations, card lists, or shopping escapades. It’s a stealthy holiday that has managed to fly below the radar of the retailer’s hype. Notably, the crazy world of consumerism respectfully remains on hold until Thanksgiving is over – in fact, Black Friday is kept at bay until the last bit of turkey has been eaten, the last football game has been watched, the last dish has been cleaned.

It seems perfectly suited to stay that way. And I’m thankful for that. For most of us, the day seems inclined to remain simple; a simple day of thanks for the good things that we have in life.

There are those who may not immediately feel like there’s much of anything for which to be thankful. There are those that have no family or friends to celebrate the day; turkey dinners only remind them of the way things used to be. Some folks feel deeply lonely during the holidays. For many, it’s been a tough year and they’ve had more than their fair share of troubles; falling into the trap of self-pity because of a sense that they’ve been cheated out of things which they might be thankful. War widows, the elderly, single parents, soldiers in remote places, people who are sick, pink-slipped, victims of tragedy, the list goes on ad infinitum.

And you might be thinking, ‘that’s what I’m thankful for, I’m not them – everything is great and I have lots of great things in my life for which I am thankful!’ But consider that in one down-stroke of universal providence, any one of us could lose anything or everything. Then what? Cancel Thanksgiving? Not if you know what you still have to be thankful for. I know that when we’re feeling really down the last thing we want is someone to come along and break up our pity party. But that’s what I am about to do.

First, I want to tell you, although Armstrong Steel is in a period of great financial health, it hasn’t always been so. It was a struggle to build this company to the robust giant we are today. Many Thanksgiving days passed when I was worried what the next year would bring or when I experienced loss or the potential for loss – personally and professionally.

But it was through those years of crisis that I discovered my true character, and the character of my employees. It was through crisis that I was able to establish the unspoken but powerful company culture which I believe resonates with every Armstrong employee – the spirit of empathy for the experiences and situations our customers face, the desire to go the extra mile to ensure that the dreams associated with buying your very own garage, workshop, small business expansion, or industrial project are met with equal measure of enthusiasm and excitement from our side as well.

I’m thankful for that.

There are some things you can never lose. Memories remain, perspective and attitude remain; the universe has faith in your strength otherwise it wouldn’t present you with hardship. Even in the worst situations, crying may last for a night but joy always seems to return in the morning.

One more thing I am thankful for.

Sometimes it seems like a cruel cycle to understand that there are seasons when the trees will be bare, and in those moments of emotional scarcity, I try to step back and remember, next season, there will come a time when we may, again, pick the fruit.

What I am trying to say here is, this year, it’s great to be thankful for all the positive things in your life, but I encourage you to take a moment to consider the hardships in your life and be thankful for them as well.

These hardships, the moments of discomfort, crisis, and even loss are also blessings. We’re provided these moments or situations because it’s only through loss that new gains may be made. It’s only through crisis that we develop character, it’s only through discomfort that we learn to comfort others and develop the uniquely human quality of empathy.

This is genuine, this is uncluttered, this is simplicity, and to me, at least, this is the benchmark of this holiday. Maybe it’s no accident that there’s little to do, little to spend, few rituals of commercialism that dominate Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s no accident that the holiday asks only a cursory acknowledgement to reflect, remember, and rest. Maybe it’s no accident that it remains my favorite holiday. I am thankful for that, and I am thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

Ethan Chumley

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