Utah First

While many of us look forward to this time of year and the opportunity it brings to spend time with the ones we love, the holiday season can be difficult for our service men and women who are stationed abroad.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been joined by many of you from across the state in extending a small token of gratitude to those Utahns serving our country. My staff began a project of providing holiday packages to our service men and women serving abroad. Reaching out to as many groups as possible, we hoped to be able to gather enough materials to reach a few dozen Utah heroes.

The response we received was overwhelming. Joined by hundreds of Utahns from across the state, the American Red Cross Utah Region, and the United Way of Salt Lake, we were able to provide nearly 1,000 deployed Utahns with thank you cards and a taste of home for the holiday season—featuring Utah products like Sweet’s Candy, Hires Drive-In fry sauce, and Stephens Hot Chocolate.

To all of those who set aside their time and resources for our Utah service men and women—thank you. It is all of you—the service organizations, non-profits, companies, church groups, and individuals—that made this project such an unexpected success. I know that as we work to build strong communities to serve one another, to identify our neighbors and friends in need of encouragement or help, we will continue to make Utah the wonderful place we want to live and leave for our kids. As we each make goals for the New Year, let us find ways where—individually and collectively—we build and serve.