Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach.

It’s Thanksgiving and here on the Outer Banks. Like most of the country, this has been a difficult year, yet there is still much to be thankful for.

But the real nature of what it means to be thankful, what it really means to know that people we love and cherish are still with us, was brought home in a beautiful letter that was published this week by the Outer Banks Voice.

Written by William Butler of Virginia Beach, the letter recounts the harrowing experience of being caught in a riptide with his son, knowing that they may very well die.

The family was swimming on a beach in Cape Hatteras National Seashore in October. There must not have been a lifeguard on that beach, because Butler’s wife had to place a 911 call.

A half hour later, Park Ranger Valerie Streiff drove onto the beach, took a look at the situation and didn’t hesitate.

“Mrs. Valerie Streiff pulled onto the beach with her truck, kicked off her boots, shrugged off her uniform jacket, grabbed a life jacket and flotation device and jumped into the surf…” Butler wrote.

He goes on to write, “Without a doubt, Mrs. Valerie Streiff is a certified American hero…She did not hesitate to act outside of the requirements of her job.”

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

At Thanksgiving, there seems little doubt what the Butler family will be grateful for.

“When my family and I sit around the table and express what we’re thankful for, you can be assured that we will all mention Mrs. Valerie Streif,” he said. “Thank you for saving me and my son.”

The letter is an important reminder that in our gratitude for our blessings, it’s important to remember the people we love.

From all of us at Brindley Beach Vacations, we hope your Thanksgiving has been filled with love and hope.