A famous late-night television host takes part of his show on Friday nights to write out his weekly thank you notes—complete with some “thank you note writing music.” It’s part of his routine and essentially a tradition. When I still lived with my family in New York, one of my own traditions was watching that skit with my brother every week.
It appeals to me because I’ve also always been quite fond of the tradition of a handwritten thank you note. There’s something about writing one that makes me feel like I’m showing just a little bit of extra appreciation and feels more personal than just writing “thank you” in an email.
Taking a bit of inspiration from all of these traditions and in the spirit of this season of Thanksgiving, I thought I would take some time to write a few thank you notes of my own.
First, thank you to all the FEMA staff who are currently deployed. Thank you for spending your holiday away from your families to help disaster survivors and their communities recover. You’ve travelled a long way and may be in cities you’ve never been before or ones you’ve seen a thousand times. You all serve important roles and your hard work goes far from unnoticed.
Next, thank you to all the first responders and military personnel that have been working day in and day out to keep us all safe. Your job is never done, never easy, and incredibly important. We are always grateful for all you do. It’s our pleasure to work with you every day and help you be sure you can do what you do.
Last (and most definitely not least), thank you to our families. I don’t just mean the federal family, whose collaboration, expertise, and assistance have been incredibly valuable and appreciated through many disasters this year.
I also mean the parents, siblings, spouses, children, and extended family members of all of us who work at FEMA.
Disasters don’t only happen during regular business hours. They definitely don’t keep bankers’ hours. They certainly don’t care about weekends or holidays.
Thank you, family members, for knowing and understanding this. For sticking with us. For being supportive and flexible through early mornings, late nights, deployments, and everything else that comes with a disaster response and recovery. We all appreciate it and truly wish to thank you.
I think that about does it. Writing thank you notes might be a little old-fashioned, but I think a good one can really go a long way.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.