Thank you Judge [Carlos] Cascos and thanks to Principal [Aimee] Garza-Ortiz and Garcia Middle School for hosting us today.
It's an honor to be among such an accomplished and dedicated group of individuals who have found their own ways to serve their fellow Texans.
In that spirit of community service, we're here today to celebrate Operation Lone Star an annual effort that not only brings much needed medical care to the citizens of South Texas it also puts our medical responders through their paces.
That makes Operation Lone Star a bona fide win-win situation.
For two weeks, the citizens of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy and Zapata Counties will get access to medical and dental care regardless of their ability to pay.
As they administer that care, the men and women of our Guard and Reserves will earn valuable experience on a large scale in a variety of locations.
This undertaking also gives the State of Texas a chance to see key members of our emergency response team in action so we can fine tune the way we'd treat large groups of people in the event of a major crisis.
Efforts like this will make our emergency preparedness and response efforts even better.
Training benefits aside, Operation Lone Star is a tangible manifestation of that time-honored Texas tradition of "neighbor helping neighbor."
Over the years, Operation Lone Star has conducted tens of thousands of medical procedures for some of our state's poorest families and markedly improved their lives.
This operation is another example of that unique brand of Texas generosity that we see on a small scale every day and on a much larger scale when disaster strikes. That generosity motivates the ranchers who make room for a neighbor's livestock when fires threaten drives the volunteers who fuel up their chain saws when high winds topple trees and inspires citizens to open their homes to coastal residents fleeing advancing storms.
That spirit of compassion and care which helps make Texas the best place to live, work and raise a family is the heartbeat of our first responders including the men and women of Operation Lone Star.
That spirit has helped make Texas a national leader in emergency response and made Texans safer in the process no matter what the circumstance.
You would be truly amazed to see the number and variety of Texas organizations that mobilize in advance of a gathering storm.
From game wardens, state troopers and local police to EMS workers, the Red Cross and Texas Military Forces we roll out the big guns when nature prepares to strike and our folks are always ready.
From analyzing past efforts to conducting scenario driven training at locations all over our state our first responders live out our philosophy to plan for the worst and pray for the best.
At the state level, we work to support the local solutions devised by front line leaders like mayors, county judges, sheriffs and fire chiefs.
It's our job to make sure they have the resources they need including seamless communications and innovative logistic support from our private sector partners.
The end result is a team that's ready for whatever challenges might come our way and a citizenry that can rest easy knowing folks like these are standing by to help.
So let me thank all those involved with Operation Lone Star and thank you for your principled service to our state.
May God bless you, and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.