I’ll never forget the many Christmas eves where, with excitement in my young daughters’ eyes and hushed, gleeful whispers, we would quietly approach the front steps of a local family’s house. Each daughter helped carry a gift, and after arranging the packages on the front porch, there was a quick knock on the door and a race to our family van parked a block away. It had become a Christmas tradition to deliver gifts to local families who were struggling or going through financial difficulties.
My daughters are now grown with families of their own, and they still recount with great fondness those Christmas Eve excursions. I remember eating eggs benedict every Christmas morning—a tradition our daughters carry on in their own families. These memories and traditions are so important to me.
With Christmas upon us and New Year’s Day just around the corner, it’s an opportunity for each of us to consider what we’ve been given and what we can give to others.
My motto for the Secretary of State’s office is, “Pro tanto quid retribuamus,” a Latin term inscribed centuries ago in Belfast, Ireland’s town square. It means, “Having been given so much, what will you give in return?”
This year, our office is giving back to those who serve us.
The Secretary of State agency has “adopted” the children and families of the Oregon National Guard’s 1249th Engineer Company. The 1249th is based out of Salem’s Anderson Readiness Center. There are about 80 soldiers in this company, many of whom have families. About 30 children have one or more parents serving in this company.
Our hope is that we will bring joy and comfort to these families and let them know that we appreciate and stand with them. This is only one small way that our team is giving back.
Each of us can give back in our own way. Even a short visit or a call to a neighbor might be appreciated more than we would ever know. Let’s each do a little more this year to share some kindness and love with our family, friends, and community. Especially, let’s reach out to those who might be having a difficult time this holiday season.
From my family to yours, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Holiday Season filled with joy and peace.