Time and again, I’ve witnessed the generosity of West Virginians firsthand-in the wake of the spring tornado and floods, the derecho, the tragic loss of two State Police Troopers, Hurricane Sandy, and most recently, the gas line explosion. In the midst of these extraordinarily difficult times, West Virginians joined together to support each other-finding strength in the company of others. This week, many of us gathered with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season. It was an opportunity, not only to catch up, but to share our blessings with others in our communities and our state-whether donating food to a local pantry, offering our time at a shelter or simply lending a listening ear.
Then again this month, the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School reminded me of how precious my family and friends are-and the joy they bring into my life. Such loss is heartbreaking-it’s unspeakable. Still today, Joanne and I continue to pray for the families and friends of the 26 children and adults who left this world far too soon.
As West Virginians and Americans, we must commit to taking care of one another. We must look after each other and give support to those who need it most. This holiday season, I encourage you to think about someone in your life who might need a shoulder to lean on. A phone call or simple act of kindness can mean the world to a friend or loved one-even a stranger.