Thanksgiving Holiday Message

To my MFLC team members,

The approaching holiday season leads me to pause and reflect on the importance of our mission and the many sacrifices made by our counselors – I am so thankful for all you do to support our nation’s military community.

Your service has never been more important. Throughout the world images of chaos, suffering and violence abound. Such tragedies impact all of us differently, and for our military families they often beg the question of when the next long goodbye will come. We are blessed to live in a country where such amazing young men and women – truly our best and brightest – continue to choose service in such chaotic times. Through our experiences working with them we also know they do not serve alone. Military service is a family business, and the many sacrifices made in the course of those duties have wide ranging impacts on children, spouses and extended family members.

During the holiday season many of our youngest service members will spend their first holiday away from home. Some will eat cold MREs in the deserts of Iraq or in the mountains of Afghanistan; others will eat a meal aboard ships forward deployed and ready to respond to the next crisis; still more may eat alone in an empty chow hall. Young spouses will stress over their first holiday meal – I can still recall my wife working so hard to cook me a special Thanksgiving dinner after having just returned from Afghanistan in 2010. It was our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple, and while we had much to be thankful for we also had many struggles ahead to address.

Pay special attention to those service members and families who may be alone this season. Offer them your support and continue to be an example of our core values of Service, Integrity and Fidelity. Many times all it takes is being there to listen when no one else will.

I hope each of you has the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. For those serving far from home or deployed OCONUS – you deserve our collective thanks and gratitude – it is never easy to spend the holidays away from home. Your experience is an opportunity to build yet another bridge of trust through shared sacrifice – this is what makes our program unique – you are there to share in the sacrifices made by those we support. There is nothing more important than that.

No matter where you are and what plans you have, I hope you will all take time to pause and reflect on the tremendous privilege and sacred responsibility with which we have been entrusted while working to support this special program. I am thankful for all you do in support of our team, our mission and our military community. It is an honor and privilege to serve with you, knowing that everyday our team members are saving careers, families and lives. On behalf of all my brothers and sisters in arms – thank you.

Godspeed and Semper Fidelis!

James Ferguson
Deputy Program Director