Did You Know You're Putting the Giving in Thanksgiving?

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Time moves so quickly. The Halloween candy is disappearing. The special day we honor veterans has passed. Holiday shopping has begun and 2015 is just around the corner.

But wait… November brings us a brief respite and something wonderful. Please don’t let Thanksgiving get muddled up and passed by in the holiday rush.

Thanksgiving is a moment that gives all of us the chance to be with our families, loved ones and friends. And some time to reflect on all of the good things in our lives (besides the food and the football!).

Like many of you, what I’m most thankful for is my family. They keep me grounded and fill my heart. But a close second is to be working for the County of San Diego. We have a great team, from the leadership of our Board to each one of you. How blessed we are to be part of one of the best counties in the nation!

The things we do as public servants really put the giving in Thanksgiving. Not just in November, but all year around.

The services we provide help children, seniors, people who need a hand and everyone in between.

Whether we’re patrolling neighborhoods to keep them safe, monitoring the quality of our waters and air, keeping a lookout for diseases through our epidemiology program, caring for foster children, protecting animals, challenging and helping the public to Live Well, upholding the integrity of public assistance through our special fraud investigations, conducting elections, providing awesome parks and libraries, rehabilitating offenders so they break the criminal cycle, or helping people find the services they need at our counters — the County of San Diego is doing more than a job, it is giving everything we have to public service.

And every year, our County works hard to be even better. We constantly strive to find new ways to improve how we serve the public. There are too many examples to name them all. But I’m not the only one who notices. This year, our County won 34 Achievement Awards — the most in the nation — for programs from the National Association of Counties. We also won seven Challenge and Merit awards — the most in the state — from the California State Association of Counties. And we’ve been featured in numerous magazines and journals for our excellence and innovative practices.

Those awards honored all kinds of programs: partnering with private businesses to get more people to complete Family Disaster Plans; making it easier for people to get permits for solar roof panels; letting parents make online appointments for kids’ vaccinations; building our new, consolidated, modern County Operations Center; improving food-stamp and Medi-Cal application outreach by putting HHSA staff at local food banks; creating our disaster preparedness and information app; and combining the Sheriff’s Department traditional investigative techniques with computer-aided data analysis to anticipate and respond to crime trends and hot-spots.

All of this recognition is well-deserved. And it represents a lot of hard work — a lot of giving. And for this I owe a lot of thanks to each of you.

But I want to ask you to put some extra thanks in our Thanksgiving wishes this year. Please thank an employee who works in one of our areas that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week who will be working this Thanksgiving.

These employees truly go above and beyond for our public but also for the many employees who are able to celebrate the day at home with their families due to their sacrifices. A special thanks to each of them. Your dedication and commitment is greatly appreciated.

Happy Thanksgiving!