By Dave Leestma

We dedicate this Breeze edition to all those amazing people, locally and nationally, who managed an overwhelming fire with such skill, bravery and dedication.

We in the Hickory Nut Gorge community are certainly thankful well beyond last Thanksgiving Day. What we have kept in this new year is our homes, businesses and ourselves due to the extraordinary and courageous efforts of nearly 900 firefighters, volunteers and support personnel who kept us all safe from the devastating Party Rock Fire. Lake Lure Mayor Bob Keith gives a concise fire report on page 4, Valerie Hoffman describes Buffalo Creek Park trail damage on page 8 and our Breeze writers have all drawn inspiration and insight from that fire in this winter edition of The Breeze. I encourage you to attend a community ‘thank you’ event being held at Rumbling Bald Resort, January 21. (See story, page 15 and event ad, page 7).

This Breeze edition marks the first issue of our 30th anniversary year serving the greater Lake Lure region. As our presence has expanded through the years, we continue to tell with enthusiasm the story of this vibrant community and of those who live nearby in this beautiful region of Western North Carolina.

Thank you for reading The Breeze, for your continuing support of our advertisers and for your on-going contribution to the success and well-being of this special place we call ‘home’.

Hope wins this new year!