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Thank you for your support

I would like to start off by thanking everyone who attended out Veterans' Day ceremony in Agawam this year. It was one of the most heavily attended services we have had. I hope to keep this support going.

I know it is a little late for my thoughts on Thanksgiving, but I want to share some things with you. It was amazing to see the people who have showed their support for our troops by wanting to get packages sent out for the holidays. Along with Pathways to Healing, we sent out almost 10,000 lbs. of care packages to our troops. 10,000 lbs. That is an extraordinary amount. We had many people donate goods and money to help us out. I am humbled by these amounts. I never expected we would do that much.

This made me realize that I should give thanks to not only our troops, but to the many men and women who are supporting them. It makes me proud that when I really need something to help them out, I can count on the community. I feel better knowing that as much as I try to raise awareness of the fact that we are at war, some people do understand. Some people do get it. As most people were sitting down with family to eat and enjoy the holiday, many of our brave men and women were sitting in a tent surrounded by sand, wishing they were here. But because of their loyalty to their country, they were not.

On Thanksgiving morning, my wife made cookies for the meals being served at the American Legion Post 124 in Westfield. After seeing how happy these guys were just for having dessert, I realized how easy it is to make an old soldier feel appreciated. I just hope everyone else does too. With that, I give thanks to all of them.

Richard J. Girard Jr.

Director of Veterans' Services

Western Hampden District