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Extra Gratitude at our Thanksgiving Table This Year

Jean and I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all South Dakotans. This season provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we’ve received this year. Like every year, I continue to be thankful for the love and support of my family, as well as the opportunity South Dakotans have given me to represent you in the United States Senate. It’s an honor that I will never take for granted. And of course, none of us would be able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday if not for the service and sacrifice of those who wear the uniform of the United States of America. We are grateful to every one of them, as well as their families who may not get to spend this holiday season with them.


As many of you know, this year has been challenging for our family. Jean was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year after a lump was discovered on her hip, near her sciatic nerve. She has been receiving treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., since this summer. Watching my wife of 41 years fight this horrible disease has been hard, but Jean is tough. She’s fought this disease with the utmost strength and courage. We are grateful for her strong support system across the state, so even when I’m working in Washington, I know she is always surrounded by our kids and grandkids, our extended family and our friends.


Words cannot express our gratitude to everyone who has prayed for her recovery. Your prayers have given us strength and hope. During a recent Mayo Clinic visit, I told some of her doctors about how many folks from across the state and even from around the country have reached out to us to say they’re praying for Jean. One of the doctors turned to me and said “We’re just the tools, there is someone else in charge.” So, to everyone who has included Jean and our family in your prayers these past several months, thank you. Your prayers are working. After her most recent visit, where she underwent surgery to remove the remainder of the tumor, her doctors told us they are optimistic about her recovery. She will soon begin radiation treatment, which we are hoping will be the last step before she goes into remission.


This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful to be able to spend some quality time with Jean and our family. To the families who are going through hardships—whether it be health-related, financial or from other stressors—know that we are thinking about you. As we gather together over a turkey and pumpkin pie, let’s all say a prayer for those who are going through a difficult time this year.


I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving with those you love.






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