The new year brings with it the promise of change.
Whether it's trying to stick to those new resolutions we made for personal improvement, or we're simply navigating our way through planning our finances, the new year also often marks a period of transition as new community leaders in government and civic organizations take over.
We've taken pause during the holiday season to gather our families and express our thanks for what we have.
So as we start a new year, it's a good time to take that same spirit that we embraced during the holiday season and share that with those who sacrifice for us every day -- for those who are embarking in their new positions to serve us, to those who have served and to those who are still serving.
The obvious public servants who come to mind are our law enforcement, fire and rescue and other emergency personnel, all of whom risk injury and at times, their lives, in protecting the public.
Even so, recognition and thanks are hard to come by as these unsung heroes perform their duties every day. The public's contact with these men and women often comes under trying and negative circumstances.
Too often, our perceptions of these public servants are colored by those experiences. And we forget just how much we need their help until tragedy strikes.
That's especially true of our emergency services personnel and also of our military, who put their lives in harm's way daily to protect our freedoms and those who are unable to do so themselves.
Wars and conflicts aren't popular. Sacrifices are deep.
Yet those men and women who have served, who are serving today, and will serve in the future, go forth to perform their duty in terrible conditions, seeking to right wrong and be a beacon for justice -- either on the home front or far from our borders.
Our elected and appointed lawmakers and government officials also have a tough task, working for the greater good as they implement laws, rules and regulations designed to help our society work smoothly.
It's impossible to adequately thank all of these heroes who sacrifice so much.
Yet we should try and go on trying, doing what we can in appreciation.
While we take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our military, law enforcement and fire, rescue, response and emergency personnel, let's not forget the many others in public service -- teachers and school administrators, postal workers, caregivers and those in the health field, elected officials and government workers, a friend who helps us -- the list is endless.
Let's also think of those who are our neighbors, our family members, those we associate with in civic and community clubs, and those who attend our church.
While the definition of a hero may vary depending on your interpretation, there are many we come in contact with that would exceed that description.
There are countless people whose job it is to make our lives easier every day. We often don't even think about what they do for us, we just take it for granted until we have a need.
Well, now is our chance to change that. We can take a moment, in spite of the hustle and bustle of change and of new beginnings, and say thank you.
A gift of thanks and a smile goes a long way. And it won't cost you anything.
Make today, this week, this month and this year the time to tell another thanks for their efforts.
Sincere appreciation not only boosts the recipient, it also lifts the giver.
Thanks to all who serve us and work to make our country what it is.