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Write a “thank you” letter, but get the names right

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Greg Peck
December 19, 2013

At a time when space is often at a premium in newspapers, The Gazette still allows service organizations and others to submit “thank-you” letters. I'm sure some newspapers our size reject these or even charge fees for publication as papers look for new revenue sources. Rather than place these letters with opinion material under the “Your Views' category, The Gazette labels these “Your Thanks.” Sometimes I can get a flooded with these, particularly around national volunteer week or month.

We don't take every “thank-you” letter submitted. For example, if the letter is from an individual thanking a doctor, hospital or some other caregiver, I'll typically write back and encourage the person to thank that person or facility directly. If we accepted the good ones, then to be fair we would also have to accept the critical ones, and we can't sort out right and wrong to make sure the complaint is valid when it involves private medical records.

If it's someone thanking those who stepped forward to help after an accident or some other incident that made our news pages, I'll likely use it. I'm also happy to hear about those cases of “good Samaritans,” when someone returns a lost wallet, forgotten purse or helps someone who fell or had some other accident that didn't make our news columns.

Here's something I'd like service clubs and others who submit thank-you letters to keep in mind. If you want to thank someone for their help, please provide us with that person's first and last name, and make sure you spell it correctly. The last thing you should want to do when thanking a person or business is get the name wrong and offend that person or company.

I recall a recent “thank-you” letter, however, that had five (yes, five!) business names, as well as an individual's spelled incorrectly. I don't know everyone or even every business in our readership area, but I did happen to know this person and that the name was spelled wrong. As far as business names, for example, does the company use “&” instead of “and” in its formal name? Missing the hyphen in Kutter Harley-Davidson is a common error. So, too, is omitting the word “community” in Blackhawk Community Credit Union.

Please, before submitting such letters, do me and those you're thanking a favor—double-check those names and make sure they're right. Those who have helped you will appreciate it, and so will I.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.



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