2022 has been a year of reflection for our Mountain Laurel Chalets team. As we've celebrated our 50th anniversary in a multitude of meaningful ways, the common theme over the last many months has been that of deep, deep gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for. I'd be lying if I said our journey to 50 years has been easy--it definitely hasn't. There have been hills and valleys, as there always are in this life, and we have weathered our fair share of storms.
In 2016 we walked through our biggest challenge to date: the catastrophic Gatlinburg fire. We lost more than half of our homes in the fire, and we're still in the process of rebuilding today. Resilience does something to the soul, and thanks to our faithful family of guests (like you!), we've come out stronger than ever.
A few days after the fire, with smoke still rising from the ashes, I walked through what remained of several properties. I swallowed back tears and found myself fearful of the future. There was so much uncertainty ahead and I wasn't sure I had what it would take to help our multi-generational family business make it through a trial of this magnitude. However, I soon found my perspective shifting. Instead of focusing on what we'd lost, I decided to set my mind on the things we could be thankful for. For instance, even though the fire took out everything else in its vicinity, our office was still standing. Our staff and their families were safe. We were able to serve our community in tangible ways, our office serving as a gathering place for first responders. We joined with other organizations in Gatlinburg to support the clean-up efforts, and our city became stronger for the newfound partnership.
The easiest way to change my mood was to change my mind, and it started with gratitude. The following words from one of my favorite childhood hymns sum it up well:
As we round out our 50th year, I want to name Mountain Laurel Chalets' greatest blessings one by one. Truth be told, there are more than I can count, but here are a few, for starters:
We're grateful for our history and the strong shoulders we stand on today. Dot and Ralph Egli laid a firm foundation for our family business, and we wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. We strive to honor their legacy well each and every day.
We're grateful for our homeowners who trust us with the beautiful homes you see in our program. They allow us to serve them by caring for their valuable investments, and they graciously work to make sure their homes are ready to serve you, their guests.
We're grateful for our city. Gatlinburg is a unique place with a heart the size of Tennessee, and we are proud to work alongside so many exceptional people in the hospitality and tourism industries.
We're grateful for our Mountain Laurel Chalets team members who work tirelessly to serve both our homeowners and guests. From our guest services and financial teams to our maintenance and housekeeping crews, we have been blessed with some of the best in the business. Their skills and knowledge are top-notch, and their hearts for the greater Mountain Laurel Chalets family are huge. We couldn't offer the exceptional service we've come to be known for without them.
We're grateful for you, our treasured guests. Your loyalty to our company is remarkable, and your trust in us is humbling. We are so thankful we have the opportunity to serve you, and we hope to continue to do so for many years to come.
As you reflect upon your many blessings, we hope you'll count your time at Mountain Laurel Chalets as one of them. We are so thankful you're a part of our family.
-Tom Goodwin and the Mountain Laurel Chalets team