One year ago, we suffered a fire at our headquarters resulting in the loss of 2/3s of our offices. The experience was a very emotional one as that was our home; where we had our friends, our traditions, our successes, and our failures. I am happy to report to you today that we have moved back in before the anniversary of the fire.

We excelled in responding to the fire with minimum disruption to our business. It was so rewarding to see the employees pull through it with such a spirit of “we can do this.” We fed off of all the good energy, concerns and prayers that we received and cannot express the thankfulness and goodness that outpoured from our community—near and far—to support us. In hindsight, we see that in the thick of dealing with the crisis in front of us, we were not able to thank each of you as you reached out to us, but please know that your concern for us was our oxygen.

We knew from our own volunteerism for disaster relief efforts that all of us can face a disaster and that the response brings out the best of the human family. One sweet payback that we experienced was from our neighboring town of Viola, WI who had a devastating tornado many years ago and our cooperative provided aid, equipment and food in their time of need. After our fire, they volunteered several times in the first two weeks to come and cook for us, and it felt so good to believe in the goodness of “lending a hand” to those in need.

Each one of you gave to us in our time of need, and it was deeply felt and appreciated. I hope you do not face a disaster like a fire but have faith that, if you do, you will get the support you need just as we did.

Now that we are back into our headquarters, we have to regain our connectedness that we suffered from being spread out in 21 locations. We are a dynamic cooperative with a mission that is critical for our times, and we have a big responsibility to grow the organic movement, serve family farms and celebrate great organic food.

Again, I want to thank you for your support and faith in our cooperative in our time of need. It was, and is, deeply appreciated and made a difference. Funny, that often it’s the struggles of life that show us the best of the human family.

Thanks and see you along the way.

George