This Thanksgiving, I wish the very best to all of you and your families. It’s the time of year when we give thanks, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy a special meal together. As I reflect on what I am grateful for this year, I think about the hardworking and dedicated USDA Forest Service employees who provide exemplary service each day. Service is in our name and our identity; that’s why it is one of our agency core values. I am proud to stand with you all in service to each other and to the American people as we deliver our conservation mission.
This year, I am thankful for two very important landmarks in my life: the gift of becoming a grandmother for the first time and for the extraordinary privilege of becoming your Chief. Both of these have been experiences that filled me with renewed hope, while at the same time they remind me of the importance of the work we do.
As I reflect on what I am grateful for this year, I also reflect on the many trials we faced. I am especially grateful right now for our firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first responders and employees who are working this holiday weekend in hard hit areas, like California.
We have members of our Forest Service community whose homes were damaged or destroyed by hurricanes Florence, Isaac and Michael, the Camp Fire, the Mendocino fires and other natural disasters. I know the communities you serve are also very grateful for your service. I am so thankful to you for stepping forward and continuing to show the best of who we are, even in the midst of personal tragedy, but I am most thankful for your safety.
I am very humbled for the opportunity to do what we do here in the Forest Service, as well as for sharing in the company of folks who, day in and day out, work hard at sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands for present and future generations.
I thank each of you for your service to the nation and the contributions you make that ensure people continue reaping the benefits healthy, working forests and grasslands provide. It is through your hard work, through shared stewardship with our many partners, cooperators and volunteers that we continue to provide millions of Americans with clean air, drinking water, world-class science, outdoor experiences, jobs and stable communities.
Thank you for your hard work, commitment and dedication to our mission; I wish all of you, your families and friends a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.
Chief Vicki Christiansen