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WV lawmakers offer Thanksgiving wishes

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Preparations are underway for holiday celebrations at the West Virginia Capitol Complex. Preparations are underway for holiday celebrations at the West Virginia Capitol Complex.

Lawmakers close to the Mountain State are offering advice for West Virginians while celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin urged Mountaineers, in a column on Tuesday, to count their blessings and be thankful for everything they have.

"I am asking for your help. Together, we can pitch in and turn a bad situation into a good one," Tomblin said. "It is our calling to help our neighbors and to reach out to our fellow West Virginians by dipping into our own resources and sharing what we have — especially our time. It will demonstrate exactly what it means by the words, ‘it is better to give than to receive.'"

Tomblin said he donated a basket of goods to the "Holz Gives Back" annual food drive at Holz Elementary in Charleston.

"West Virginia is world renowned for its tradition of neighbors helping neighbors," the governor said. "Remember, the smallest of contributions can make a world of difference."

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said West Virginians need to be thankful for the blessings of liberty they enjoy in "this land of the free."

"Let us remember those who have defended our shores and our freedoms, those we have lost, those still beside us, and those too far from home," he said. "Let us always be mindful of the Christian covenant not only to nourish the needs of our neighbors but to fill those hungry souls among us."

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Wednesday he was taught from an early age to count his blessings.

"It is a lesson that has stuck with me at every turn of the road, and is a message that I have passed along to my own children and grandchildren," he said. "Starting at Thanksgiving and throughout this holiday season, I encourage all West Virginians to take a moment and reflect on our blessings."

Manchin said living in a country with the greatest liberties of freedom in the world, it is easy to forget how truly blessed Americans are.

"We come together no matter what is happening in the life of our country — whether in war or peace, in boom or but, in triumph or tragedy," he said. "Although we should thank our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guard Members every day for their dedication to this country, Thanksgiving is a time to offer special thanks for their service and sacrifice."

"On behalf of Gayle and our whole family, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. God bless America, and God bless the great state of West Virginia."

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the Thanksgiving holiday is marked by love and gratitude, but many people worry and stress about how to put meals on the table each day.

"During the Great Depression, our nation established a federal safety net to help those facing hunger," Rockefeller said. "Now known as the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, or SNAP, our nation's dedicated initiative to fighting hunger has been providing critical nutrition assistance to individuals and families when they need it most.

"Here in West Virginia, SNAP benefits represent a lifeline for one in five of our friends and neighbors, including thousands of children."

Rockefeller said he will do all he can to strengthen SNAP, but Congress should take advantage of the opportunity to come together for the holiday season "on behalf of our neediest children and families to improve these programs for years to come."