How Vail Place Member Desi Heaven Gives Thanks

How Vail Place Member Desi Heaven Gives Thanks

Star Tribune recently profiled Vail Place member Desi Heaven’s story in a moving piece about what Minnesotans give thanks for during the Thanksgiving holiday. As the article makes clear, gratitude isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing; everyone has different reasons to be thankful, different challenges and different blessings. For Desi, giving thanks includes serving Thanksgiving dinner at Vail Place to nearly 50 members. From never having cooked a meal before to witnessing the joy of the diners as they enjoy the tasty feast year after year, Desi’s Thanksgiving transformation has been inspiring.

Read her story at

From having triplets to losing 160 pounds, Minnesotans share moments of thanks

By Aimee Blanchette Star Tribune

Thanksgiving feeds us in the obvious turkey and stuffing kind of way, but also in heart and spirit.

Remember as a kid the excitement of Thanksgiving morning? The smell of sage and cranberries drew us from our beds and we’d drag our toys into the kitchen to “help” with dinner. We’d ask 50 questions — “What’s a gizzard?” — as Mom and Dad worked to make everything perfect.

Then we graduated from the kids’ table to the adult table and the holiday lost its excitement for a few years, maybe until we came home from college and woke up in our old bedrooms to that familiar smell again.

Thanksgiving isn’t a Norman Rockwell painting for everyone, but that’s what makes it the most American of holidays. If there’s ever a time to pause and think about gratitude, it’s in the moments that define change or newness. Read more