If you can count your blessings, you can share your blessings.
And 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.
Especially during the Christmas season, which is such a joyous time of year, the people of West Virginia always seem to find the time to take a break from the stress of holiday preparations to give back to their community. We remember what's important about the holidays sharing our good fortune.
In the Mountain State, we have such a unique sense of community in every place I've ever visited. We work hard at our jobs, but if we get home and hear of a person in need, the 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.
Indeed, this true Mountaineer Spirit can be seen in the valleys, in the cities, and on the mountains across our great state, and it is this spirit that is a testament to our state's heritage and why our people are so special.
At this time of year, when everyone has so many commitments, I especially commend all of the volunteers who commit their time and efforts to helping others and I urge everyone to join them in giving back.
Please never doubt the difference that you are making when you volunteer, because you are bettering our state, one person or family or community at a time.
For Gayle and me, volunteering has always been an important part of our lives. We are truly grateful for the opportunities we have had to work alongside volunteers across the state and the opportunities to learn and grow with those who we serve. Volunteering has not only allowed us a greater understanding of the communities in our state and their needs, but has given us a reward that is beyond measure.
This Christmas season I encourage all West Virginians to join me in reaching out to the community, and volunteering your time to help our neediest neighbors. From collecting toys to preparing food baskets, there are so many opportunities for you to serve your community this year. While one person can make a difference, working together we are a much more powerful force.
As you and your families prepare for the upcoming holidays, I hope you will take the time to reach out, volunteer at the local food pantry or collect toys for needy children. Every act of service, no matter how small, has a big impact on the community.
Thank you, and may God bless your work.