High atop the 16th green of Harbor Hills Country Club, six flags wave proudly over our military memorial. The branches represented are: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and the newly-established Space Force. Neighbor and Purple Heart recipient Col. John Bircher reminds us, “Freedom is not really free, but comes at the price of those who are willing to sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.”

More than 9.5 million vets are now over the age of 65. This time of the year can be especially difficult for them. Reach out to those in our community who may be struggling. Offering help in any small way shows our support and gratitude.

Let’s remember that the holiday season can also be a tough time for many who are experiencing sadness, loneliness or simply missing a family member or pet. Especially vulnerable are those with disabilities, illness or scarce family contacts.

Friend and veteran Lonnie Hodge, a PTSD survivor suggests we make these promises:

*I promise to reach out to anyone I think might be at risk.

*I promise to be there for anyone who needs to talk or who needs help finding assistance.

*I promise to be mindful of friends who experience dark times when things get too heavy for them to bear.

The New Year provides an ideal opportunity to make life a little better for our neighbors, friends and family members. Extend your hand to others with compassion and kindness. Be there for anyone who needs friendship or assistance. From our home to yours, David and I wish you an especially happy and healthy 2023!

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