As the end of summer nears, our children are heading back to school and we begin to look forward to brisk air, turning leaves and—can you believe it?—the holiday season. But before we get ahead of ourselves and begin anticipating the fall and winter months, we do have one more summer holiday left to celebrate: Labor Day.
Labor Day serves as a celebration and acknowledgement of both the American labor movement and the contributions workers have made toward the development, strength, security, productivity, sustainability, structure and well-being of the country. As a nation, we take this day to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the labor force. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Labor Day; it’s an opportune time to honor the exceptional work of our own dedicated workforce in the Forest Service.
We are fortunate to benefit from a hard-working collection of talented individuals who come together each day to demonstrate our core value of service. Today, I especially thank each of you and recognize your sacrifice and commitment to serve the public and steward these valuable lands. Sure, it’s rewarding work; but it most definitely comes with its share of challenges and new opportunities that both test our mettle and inspire our innovation. As your Chief, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank each of you for the exceptional work you do, day in and day out.
At this time of year, many of our employees have typically been deployed to the West to fight severe fires, while others remain at the home to complete critical field work that meets our annual mission goals. By summer’s end, the severe fire activity across the West has taken its toll and stretched some of us beyond endurance. It often has taken many months to fully recover.
This year, however, we have experienced lesser fire activity in the West. This reprieve has given us more time to complete critical field work and recover from the Western fire seasons we’ve experienced recently. While the fire year continues and the potential for fall activity remains, I am grateful for this quieter period that allows time for recuperation and a recharge for the work ahead.
As we prepare to celebrate Labor Day, I encourage you to take advantage of this time. Pause and reflect on contributions you have made to our mission while you recover and prepare for the months ahead. Take time to cook out, share with family and friends, go for a walk down a trail, or take a cool dip in a pool or nearby watering hole. Whatever your plans for the holiday, please remember how much we value you and your contributions toward the stewardship of forests and grasslands. We certainly will never forget how much our successful delivery of the mission is intertwined with you.
Enjoy your holiday, share with those around you and return to us refreshed and ready to continue our commitment to serve.