January....We are now in the first month of a new year. Each one of us has never, ever experienced this precise moment in time before. We can learn from the past, and hopefully, grow wiser in the future. And that is how we keep going and change happens: One gesture. One person. One moment at a time. So, what keeps our great America going? They are the folks all across our fruited plains, including our own Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Erie counties. They are the creative, hard working men and women of uncompromising integrity; they are dedicated senior citizens of passion; they are the young folks with cherished hopes ...that is what keeps America going. They are the great engine of humanity, powered by ingenuity and enterprise, generated by determination and collegiality. That is what fosters the grandeur of the great American spirit in our communities...cities, villages, and rural areas; indeed, dedication is the word.

Recently in GOWANDA, we saw just such a spirit ...in the noble dedication of Mayor McKeever, Nick Crassi Emergency Management and other officials, first responders, and thoughtful volunteers. During the last week in December... when a surge of ravaging flood waters were cresting in Gowanda and other flood prone areas, dedicated public service personnel were in full preparatory alert. Even, a reverse 911 call system was in place. And then again ...when a citizen in the Gowanda area came up missing... we saw Police Chief Alessi and other local, county, and state first responders and area volunteers dedicating countless numbers of hours, in the most of inclement weather, to do what they could in this hour of human peril. Indeed, a grateful community is genuinely thankful and highly appreciative for these folks who give untiring... of their efforts, unfaltering dedication, and unwavering commitment to a generosity of selfless public service!

So, what is it that keeps a society like ours going! It is the realization of the American spirit, the hope of the American promise, the indomitable fortitude of the People themselves. It is the American people of all ages and backgrounds... that moves us ever forward. Even when the times are uncertain and the pathways are unclear, there is a surge of energy, a spirit of resilience, and a drive for the public good among the people. This same energy binds us together in spite of our differences. There is a spirit of determination that makes us fix our sights not on what is seen, but what is in the realm of possibility. For you see, there resides within the consciousness of Americans, a hope of that which can yet be realized. This hope is based upon the promise of that which resides in our greatest strength: a spirit of a valiant virtue within a determined people... regardless of age, background, or national origin. Therein, is our great American spirit of dedication.

You know, America is exceptional. True, we are the most diverse nation on the Earth and there are strong bonds that hold the people together in a community... as a united people. There is a strong belief that our destiny is shared with one another; that this country works well when we hold true to our obligations we have for and to one another. And these obligations extend to future generations. And, that the freedoms which so many noble Americans have fought for and died for, comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among these rights are faith, love, and charity to one another and to our posterity. That's what makes America great.

All men and women in their own chosen fields are distinctly important in their own right. Be they present, past, or future employers, employees, or the self employed. Be they first responders and health care providers, government officials, civic personnel, and community volunteers from all walks of life. Each calling, plays a significant role as part of the epic mosaic of the American free enterprise system. And, each stands stoically as a significant pillar of the American enterprising spirit.

What keeps America going? It is the indomitable spirit of the people themselves and their dedication to one another. That is what keeps America going!