Last updated: July 18. 2013 1:42PM - 98 Views
Debbie Rolen
Staff Writer

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There is no better time than Thanksgiving to celebrate all we are thankful for, and this year’s celebrations would not be complete without thanking our state’s first responders and the West Virginia National Guard.

We’ve had terrible weather patterns hit our state this year. First a tornado and flooding. Then the summer “derecho” storm that knocked out power, killed more than 20 people nationwide, and did so much damage across much of our state. And then Hurricane Sandy struck this fall, ripping up the Atlantic seaboard and impacting thousands of West Virginians. Fortunately, people are starting to get their lives back together and the process of rebuilding and recovery is underway in our state and others.

Times like these remind us what is most important: the health and safety of our family and friends. West Virginia’s first responders and National Guard serve to protect them and much more, and they have done so with such profound courage and resolve this year.

When the effects of severe weather hit our state, I knew we would all pull together. These are the times when West Virginians show our true colors and help out family, friends, and neighbors in need.

It’s also when our community leaders and emergency managers really step up – working closely with National Guard, police officers, firefighters, and EMT workers to help and protect those affected.

These public servants and other members of the community do not hesitate when their fellow West Virginians are in need. They quickly began cleaning roads, opening shelters, and providing the essentials to those who needed them. Our first responders and emergency medical professionals didn’t blink when the safety of our citizens was in their hands.

During every challenge, we see evidence of West Virginia’s unmatched neighborly spirit and willingness to look out for one another. Such resilience and hard work are characteristic of our state. That’s just what we do here. And while the circumstances of the recent storms remain difficult, they also serve as a timely reminder that those of us who call West Virginia home have so much to be thankful for.

This year Sharon and I are deeply thankful for all of the hard work and helpfulness that makes West Virginia so special, and I know families across our state join in that gratitude – especially this year.

Be safe while traveling and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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