The famous English proverb "Home is where the heart is" took on a different meaning for me last week when I got to see firsthand the compassion that exists all over our community.
Congress had what we call a "district work period," which means I got to do what I love best about this job -- travel around the 6th District and just talk to people. I heard concerns, gave out some well deserved kudos, took questions from some inquisitive 3rd graders, and even became a delivery man for a day. Every meeting and conversation was enlightening and inspiring.
It started with a trip to Travis Elementary in Ennis. The students' enthusiasm was infectious and their knowledge was impressive. I spoke to them about my job in Washington. I then showed them my voting card and explained its significance. The students were inquisitive and the questions they asked were informed. I left thinking a future Congressman for the 6th District was probably in that room.
I also got to meet a woman who has spent more than 25 years serving our community and growing a business. Dinah Gilbreath has managed the Pizza Hut in Ennis for more than two decades and was recently honored by the company as "Best Manager of the Year" for the Dallas-Ft. Worth region. She runs a profitable, family friendly business and I should know -- I often eat there with family and friends. I wanted to let her know it wasn't just her company that appreciated her dedication, so did her community. I dropped by to present her with a congressional letter of congratulations. And I must admit, while I was there I enjoyed some pizza.
I wasn't just eating lunch, I was also delivering it. I joined the volunteers of Meal on Wheels and took lunch to several people around Ellis County. The charity delivers thousands of meals daily to elderly and disabled residents all over the 6th District. Just the care and commitment of the people that prepare and deliver is amazing. They pay for their own gas and take their own time -- it is quite a commitment. My wife delivers for Meals on Wheels weekly, and I was glad I got to participate for a day.
Of course the people that receive the meals are just the salt of the earth; they are what's best about America. Most have lost some or all of their families, and they are getting up in age. They helped to keep America strong when they were younger, now it is our job to help them. My family's charitable foundation is working to raise money to help build a new regional kitchen that will help Meals on Wheels save money, while serving more people. This is a charity I really believe in.
My week also included a visit to Kennedale, where I was moved by the city's new September 11th Memorial. It features a 12 foot piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center that was given to the city by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The beam was placed in the center of five walls arranged in a pentagonal shape, designed to represent the Pentagon that was also affected during the events of 9/11.
But the most impressive part of the memorial isn't what was built -- it is how it was constructed and why. The city didn't have any direct ties to the terrorist attacks, but as Americans they wanted to honor the survivors and those who died. People from all over the city donated time and money to help complete the project. One business owner even found volunteers to drive a specially equipped truck to New York to pick up the steel beam. His story is one of many of giving and sacrifice. It makes the finished product even more special.
The people I met and compassion I witnessed proved to me that our home is full of heart and I am proud to serve you in Washington.