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Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 11:23 a.m. CDT

Thanksgiving is a time when families across America come together to give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. Terry and I would like to take this chance to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for as a family and as Iowans.

We have so many things to be thankful for here in Iowa. We live in a country where we are free to speak our minds and practice our religion as we see fit. We also live in a country of opportunities, where anyone can succeed with hard work and dedication.  

This family holiday always reminds us of those who have served in our armed forces, particularly those who are currently serving overseas. Many of our servicemembers and their families will spend the holidays apart.

I hope you will join us in sending our thoughts and prayers not only to those who are serving overseas but also to their families here in the U.S. who sacrifice so we can live in freedom and peace. 

Terry and I are planning on spending time with our veterans and thanking them in person at the VA Medical Facility in Iowa City on Thanksgiving Day.   

While the holidays are a festive time for many of us, it is important to remember that for some it is the most difficult time of year. 

Far too many Iowans are still out of work and struggling to make ends meet and may not be able to serve a bountiful holiday meal.

Growing up, I remember not knowing if we’d be able to afford Thanksgiving dinner, and as we all see in our communities, Iowa families’ need for food assistance continues to grow. 

The holidays are a great time to stop in at a local food pantry or soup kitchen and give some of your time to those less fortunate.  

Terry and I are looking forward to Thanksgiving Day, when we will be serving meals to needy families. If your time is tight, and you are able to, this is also a particularly good time to make a donation to your local food bank. 

If you would like to make a donation, volunteer, or if you are in need of food aid this holiday season please visit www.foodbankiowa.org or call 211 from a land line to get additional information about services in your area.  

Lastly, it is our hope that the Thanksgiving tradition of coming together and working to help others can carry over as Congress returns to Washington to address the many challenges facing our country. 

Now more than ever, Washington needs to come together as so many families will this holiday season to provide certainty to the American people.

I look forward to returning to work and finding bipartisan solutions to move our country forward.

From our family to yours, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.