This will be my last entry on this blog as I prepare to transition out of NASA in January 2009. When people, regardless of where they live around the world, find out that I work at NASA, their eyes light up. It is a tribute to this great Agency! People around the world hold NASA in the highest regard. And they should. This is a special place with exciting missions that push the frontiers of human knowledge, and it's filled with people that love the work they do and are completely committed to America's space program.
So, it's been a great ride and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the people of NASA and the broader aerospace community. It's a tight-knit group and although it sometimes feels like a soap opera, it's still family.
I am moving on to this new phase of my life with a new look. On November 20, I had my long hair cut off and donated my 24-inch ponytail to Locks of Love. This public non-profit charity provides hairpieces and wigs to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. As I move to this next stage of my life, hopefully, I can also help out a child in need in the process.
Most of us are in belt-tightening mode given the current financial situation, but please give consideration to those who are in even greater need. Food banks around the country are struggling as are many charities. Part of my family's gift-giving, over the past couple of years, has been to include donations of clothes and toys to kids in need. That effort will be increased this year as I plan to give my three nieces a set amount for each one to spend on a charity of her choice. And remember to thank and support the men and women of our armed services - those who have been injured and those who will be spending the holidays away from their loved ones. This is my chance to say: Thank you for your absolute commitment and unrelenting resolve which are required to protect our great country and which allow all of us, as Americans, to live free.
Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2009!