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Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

When Mainers say grace at the Thanksgiving table Thursday, we will offer thanks to the family, friends and community who surround and support us.

Maine people have a tradition of caring for their neighbors as they care for themselves and their own families.

I’ve seen that spirit of goodwill during the recent recession as many Mainers kindly stepped-up to help those less fortunate.

This fall, the First Lady and I had the honor to open our own doors for three donation days as part of our second annual Blaine House Food Drive. Our friends at the Good Shepherd Food Bank will help distribute that food to those who need it most. We were humbled by the hundreds of Mainers who came from across the state to give thousands of pounds of non-perishable foods.

A group of Girl Scouts traveled all the way from Washington County on a Saturday, simply because they wanted to help others. They learned – as so many Mainers have – that when we give, we also receive.

It was important for Ann and me to instill in our children the gift of service to others. It has been a tradition for our family to help the less fortunate in our community. I know how difficult it can be to swallow your pride and ask for help. But it was a privilege for our family to give grace and the dignity deserved to those who had fallen on tough times.

I know first-hand they can get back up.

As I reflect on what I am most appreciative of this Thanksgiving, it is not a government policy or program, but the great and generous spirit of the people of Maine.

As someone who has been without, I know it is not government hand-outs but the commitment and love of Maine people and community organizations that improves lives and strengthens our State.

I sincerely believe more in the heart of people, than in the soul of government.

Government certainly should and must safeguard our most vulnerable, but government cannot provide what we need most.

The care and compassion in each of us – shared with others especially this time of year – will make the most difference in people’s lives. We are all in this together.

In that spirit, I want to recognize that many of our own neighbors to the south are spending Thanksgiving away from homes and towns that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. And our thanks go to those – including the many Mainers – assisting with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Thank you for listening. Ann and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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