November 23, 2017 — Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released the following Thanksgiving Day message:
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving shortly after a Union victory at Gettysburg. During one of our country’s most divided times, Lincoln was able to recognize the strength of our republic and the hand of divine providence as he called for healing and unity of a tired and depleted nation.
Today, at a time when so many Americans are divided, there are heroic individuals working valiantly to make our state and country a better and safer place. Whether in the fight against human trafficking, opioid addictions, or crimes against children, it is these Utahns who quietly go about doing the work of angels that make me even more grateful to live in this state.
A few examples from the thousands in our state doing heroic work includes: Sgt. Elle Martin, who over decades has trained tens of thousands of emergency responders, law enforcement, and medical personnel; Sam and Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who have fought tirelessly to provide Naloxone to save lives from opioid overdoses. Then there is Victor Cox and the Americas Council, advocates who spend countless hours serving the Hispanic and other minority communities.
Similarly, Tim Ballard, Operation Underground Railroad, and other modern-day abolitionists risk their lives to save innocent children from sex trafficking worldwide. I am thankful for Celeste Gleave’s SHEROES team that supports female crime victims and other vulnerable women. Clay Olsen and Fight the New Drug educate the world on the perils of pornography, including child exploitation. And artists like Geralyn Dreyfous, Jenny Mackenzie and Hale Center Theater Sandy performers educate through high-quality film, music, and drama.
In my own office, Director Tracey Tabet leads a network of Children’s Justice Centers and hundreds of professionals trying to break the cycle of abuse for Utah families while Ruthie Pedregon overseas our victim advocacy efforts. Unsung heroes in the Utah AG Office do everything from taking down violent criminals, protecting land and natural resources to prosecuting non-payment of spousal or child support.
I am also deeply grateful to servicemen and women who give so much in defense of our country; and to the many first responders—police officers and investigators, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, nurses, and rescue personnel—who are often the first to rush to the aid of fellow Utahns. Utah is rich with examples of sacrifice and giving by many selfless individuals.
And while this is a time for many of us to celebrate with family and friends, some among us are spending Thanksgiving alone—isolated by depression, addictions, homelessness, deployment, or other circumstances. I hope we are mindful of their situations and do everything we can to lift them to a less lonely place.