We in West Virginia are so blessed, with the riches of loving families, a beautiful state to call home and the knowledge that we all truly care about our friends and neighbors.
West Virginians have such a unique sense of community. We work hard at our jobs, but if we get home and hear of a person in need, our day begins again. If you're in West Virginia and you're hungry, you will be fed. If you are lost, someone will not only give you directions but offer to drive you to your destination.
That's just the kind of people we are because we believe strangers are our neighbors and neighbors are our family. Not only is this approach good for the soul but it makes our state a better place to work, live and raise a family.
As I travel our state during this time of year, I am simply amazed by West Virginians' spirit of giving. Whether it is Toys for Tots, a program that I have participated in for the past several years, or serving food at a local shelter or visiting seniors at our county centers, so many of our residents give their time, energy and resources without hesitation to let others know that they are special.
As we celebrate this holiday season, we are also reminded of those who have given so much to this country -- our veterans. We need to salute them and pray for the safety of our men and women in uniform. We cannot forget that our men and women in uniform and their families give a great deal every single day for all of us. The members of our armed forces protect our nation from foreign threats to preserve the ideas that we hold dear -- freedom, liberty and justice. Their work gives the rest of us the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. We will always be indebted to them.
We should also take this occasion to reflect on the past year and look toward the future with optimism and confidence. It is a perfect time for us to consider how we can continue to build off our past successes. Next year, we know that challenges will come -- especially when it comes to putting this country's finances back in order. But we will do what West Virginians do best -- face them together. And as your Senator, I am determined to bring people together to work on commonsense solutions that will put our fiscal house back in order.
So this holiday, whatever challenges you may have, know that you are very blessed. Please thank our veterans, help a neighbor or reunite with family, because it that sense of community that makes our state and our nation so special.
Gayle and I truly wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and only the best in 2013. May God bless you, God bless the great state of West Virginia and may God continue to bless America.