When I first came to Emmons, the people there welcomed me with open arms. They taught me who I was and shaped my life forever. They showed me the sense of community that West Virginians cherish – whether that means helping each other during hard times or celebrating the holidays with family and friends.
That sense of community we all know so well is especially dear to me during the holidays, when I know West Virginians will be looking out for those who have fallen on hard times. This year the people of our state have seen their share of challenges. But I never wondered how we would face them. I knew we’d do so together.
Some of our neighbors may be missing a loved one who recently passed, or a servicemember who is away from home as they serve and protect our nation. Others may be struggling to put a meal on the table, or to give their child the Christmas they’ve always dreamed of.
But as West Virginians, we’re lucky because our neighbors never turn their backs on each other; they’re always quick to offer a hand to a friend or someone they’re meeting for the first time. This holiday season my wish is for all West Virginians to honor our deep tradition of service. Reach out to your neighbor. Volunteer in your community. Donate to a charity if you can.
As we reflect on this year and look toward 2014, I’m again reminded of why I committed my life to service and to the people of West Virginia 50 years ago. I can think of no better gift this holiday than the opportunity to continue that service next year, and well beyond the end of my Senate term.
What I learned in Emmons is still so true today – we work together and serve our community and state no matter the circumstances. That hasn’t changed. And it never will. All of you prove this to be true each day.
Sharon and I wish you a safe and joyous holiday season, and the best for the New Year.