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Lots to be thankful for around here; So stay safe!

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- First off, I want to offer my congratulations to all the Airmen who were nominated for the 2014 Military Affairs Council Community Service Awards held Wednesday evening in Cocoa Beach.

You are all winners in my mind; giving back to a community that gives us so much is a wonderful thing to do.

It's awesome to know we not only had 19 Airmen who were nominated, but we also have commanders, first sergeants and front-line civilian supervisors stepping up to see that these outstanding Airmen get the recognition (they never ask for it) that they deserve. That's what leaders do.

We are proud of each and every one of you!

And thanks, also, to all members of the MAC for putting together such a first-class event.

Let's face it ... at this time of year ... and all throughout the year ... we have lots to be thankful for around here.

And, as we rapidly approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope many of you are going to get some well-deserved time off, decompress a bit, and find things in your own lives to be thankful for.

While we're doing that, let's make sure we stay on the lookout for any Airmen (The Big "A"), who may need a little pick-me-up this holiday season.

Whatever the reason, not all of us are going to have the same kind of "comfort level" others here at the Wing and around Team Patrick-Cape may be experiencing when they sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner with their families and friends.

Wingmen work holidays if you get my drift. Let's not leave anyone alone if we can help it. Thanks.

Changing gears, here it comes (insert drum roll here), it's time to talk about each and every one of you.

I don't have to tell you this has been a very troubling and trying year for many of you, especially for our Civilian Airmen who had to deal with a lot of things they had no control over.

Still, in the face of it all, you persevered through it all, and I hope you are able to find things to be thankful for as we take time to decompress and enjoy the long holiday weekend.

Many of us can be thankful for our families, our friends, our pets, or just the fact that we work, live and play along the beautiful Space Coast of Florida. The "thankful" list is as long as it is personal for all of us. 

But let's be honest; not every person or Airmen around this Wing (and among our Mission Partners) has the same level of "comfort" when it comes to the holiday season.
It could be a first-termer who is away from home for the first time. Loneliness can be a tough thing to deal with.
It could be a military family dealing with the added stress and worry having a deployed spouse gone over the holiday season.
It could be any number of things.
What I want all of you to do - and it matters not what your job or duty title is - is to be on the lookout for any of our team members who could use a little comforting over this weekend and the holidays just around the corner.
Invite them over. Ask them if they want to go for a walk, a run, if they want to go shopping. Anything. Just don't take the ostrich approach and bury your head in the sand. 
It's truly amazing what one kind act or word can make on a person's attitude. Be the person who does that. Please. 
Here it comes. It's your safety message and it's as serious as serious gets.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the deadliest weekends on record in the United States.

I am aware many of you are looking forward to spending much-deserved time with loved ones and statistics tell us more than 90 percent of you will be going there by automobile. Please make sure you follow these common sense rules. Always remember that above all else, "safety is an attitude."
· Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before leaving for any trip.
· Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
· Buckle up, slow down, don't drive impaired. Designate a driver who won't drink.
· Be well rested and stay alert.
· Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
· Observe speed limits.
· Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers.
· Be respectful of motorists and follow the rules of the road.
· If car trouble develops, pull off the road as far as possible.
Team, please enjoy yourself and be safe. We look forward to seeing each and every one of you back here safe and sound.
Stay Focused, Sharks!