FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 15, 2011) -- As we approach the holidays and some well-deserved time off, let us remember our blessings as we reach out to others in the spirit of the season.

This is the time of year when Families reunite, and we have an opportunity to spend some precious moments together with our friends and loved ones. Because I know that some dedicated Fort Lee personnel will have a difficult time putting work aside for the holidays, I want to personally give you permission to make your family and friends the top priority while you are on leave. When you think about it, there are precious few days each year that we dedicate to Family. Make these days count.

As you celebrate with your Family, please remember the members of our military Family who are deployed and unable to be with loved ones and friends. While they are fighting for the democracy and freedom of people thousands of miles away, they should know that they are loved and missed by their Fort Lee Family back home. If possible, reach out to the Families here who are missing their husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister. Even small gestures can have a big impact.

Remember to make safety a priority over the holiday break, as I look forward to seeing and working with each of you when we return. While traveling, remember to plan your route ahead, leave extra time for traffic and stay alert. Though alcohol is part of some holiday celebrations, drinking and driving is not acceptable or safe. Drink responsibly and have a designated sober driver or arrange for taxis to safely transport loved ones. Don't let friends or Family drive impaired. Fires are another hazard during the holidays due to the increased use of space heaters, candles, fireplaces and holiday decorations. Be aware of the dangers and be vigilant to protect yourself and your Family.

It's been a great year at Fort Lee. I am honored to serve in a position that enhances military quality of life and Soldier readiness. And I am proud of the military and Civilian personnel who manage this breadth of responsibility and have accomplished so much for the Fort Lee community. Now - have a wonderful and safe holiday season with your Family and friends. THAT'S AN ORDER!