What am I thankful for? YOU!

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Thanksgiving is honestly one of my favorite holidays. There’s plenty of food and football games and parades. It’s the kick-off to the Christmas season. There’s the friends and family aspect of it. There’s comradely. There’s fun. There are memories created. There’s love.

Thanksgiving is a time to come together with loved ones. It’s a time to cherish old memories and forge new ones. It’s a time to drop your differences and settle your quarrels. While we should be thankful on the daily, Thanksgiving is a time to pause for a moment in our busy hectic lives and reflect on the things that we are thankful for.

What am I thankful for this year? It’s simple. YOU. Yes… YOU. No, you don’t have to turn to the person next to you, I’m talking directly to YOU. I am thankful that you’ve given me a platform all of these years to share my passion for meteorology. I am grateful that you consider me a dependable source for South Jersey weather. I am honored to serve you every day and help you plan your weddings, BBQs, baby showers, etc. I am humbled by the positive energy sent my way over the years. I am where I am today because of YOU and your love and support over the years.

I am also thankful for the many people who have helped me get to where I am. The path I chose wasn’t an easy one, but it shaped me into the man I am. I took a very unconventional route with many twists and turns. There are some things I would change if I had the power to, but as a whole, I am perfectly content with how my life has played out so far.

I was given away as a toddler. There were substance abuse issues that led to that decision. Thankfully I was given to my grandmother. She was a woman who cared for me, loved me, protected me and prepared me for the world I would one way jump into running. For many years it was just the two of us. I always had visions of being part of a big family with the white picket fence but came to the realization that that was nothing more than a Hollywood illusion. I decided that when I start a family, I can work towards that goal.

When I was 12, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was OK in the beginning but her condition rapidly went downhill. I found myself having to learn how to cook and clean and shop and pay bills. Stuff that no kid should have to do. I turned into HER caretaker. It taught me a lot. Eventually it became too difficult to handle on my own and she was forced to sell our home and move into an assistant living facility. Our days of laughter and joy were over and we were separated. Outside of the occasional visits, we didn’t see each other much and that is something I regret to this day. I couldn’t bare to see her that way.

I was forced to move in with my family for a couple years. These were people I barely knew. I wasn’t treated very well. I felt like the proverbial “red headed step child”. My emotions were all over the place. I decided to put my time and energy into school and further developing my love of weather with the TV program at Hammonton High. It was those couple years that really taught me life lessons. I learned to turn negative energy into positive energy that could propel me to success.

I started working at ShopRite shortly after moving to Hammonton. I’ll never forget pushing carts in the rain and being soaking wet. Unsure of exactly what path I wanted to take in life, I put my ALL into my job at ShopRite and within a few short years I found myself in a management role.

Two of the most influential people in my life, Gary Joseph and Damiso Josey (both teachers) urged me to make a demo video from our school’s morning show and send it out to news agencies. I thought they were nuts. I did it though. I sent it out to NBC40 and guess what? Within a few weeks I found myself as the weekend weather guy. Funny how things work out isn’t it? I started when I was a teenager. Almost unheard of. The rest is history…

So yes, I am thankful for a lot. I am thankful for the trials and tribulations I went through when I was much younger because now I can speak to kids about my experiences and guide them through life. One of my favorite things to do, actually. No matter what road blocks show up, EVERYONE has the ability to overcome. It’s HOW you deal with those situations that shape who you are.

Thank YOU for your love and support over the past 8 years and I look forward to delivering your weather to you on a daily basis. Good, bad or indifferent, I’m here for you. - NorEasterNIck