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Veterans Crisis Line Badge

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

50th Annual Combined Federal Campaign Kickoff
October 20, 2011

Hey VA! Have you heard? We're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the annual Combined Federal Campaign. General Counsel Will Gunn, thanks for that kind introduction and for quarterbacking this CFC team.

What a great turnout! Thank you all for being here to help kick off our annual Combined Federal Campaign. Today, we begin our best ever CFC campaign to help charitable organizations, praise-worthy communities, and those in need.

We are shooting to exceed our VACO goal of $850,000—because we did it last year, and we are still people of great conscience and caring. Remember "I CARE"? Well, we do—at VA, we do care!

I know this is a time of tight budgets for businesses, for non-profits, for households, and for many of us at VA. But we are probably more fortunate than many of our fellow citizens. We have jobs, we do meaningful work, we are privileged to serve our Nation's heroes, and we are part of a terrific VA team—at VA, we care for one another and for those less fortunate.

There is stability and predictability to our lives. This is our chance to provide some of that to others—the homeless, the unemployed, the handicapped, and the infirm—men, women, and children who struggle each day, all day to find work, to find shelter, food, clothes, safety, and respite from their illnesses. Through no fault of their own, they struggle to keep hope alive in order to ward off despair. They may be our neighbors, our work mates, or the homeless Veteran down the street.

CFC enables each of us the opportunity to demonstrate our compassion, our generosity, and our caring by easing the burdens of those less fortunate than we are. CFC member-organizations work for charitable organizations and in food kitchens; they raise companion dogs; they fly missions of mercy; they care for the dying in hospices; they raise funds for medical research, help protect the environment, preserve historic and unique areas of our country, and contribute to myriad other important projects and initiatives.

From every corner of this rich and powerful land, men, women and children—young mothers and retirees, students and senior citizens, charitable organizations and environmental institutions—come together this one time a year to pledge that we are the healers and the keepers of our fellow citizens.

We want to be sure that everyone in VA knows about our campaign. Participation, and any extent of participation, is a personal decision, but we have been among the most generous of agencies in the past. Take the enthusiasm and commitment you have here today back to your offices and agencies and spread it to your co-workers. Help them understand the importance of what we are trying to do and the sense of accomplishment that comes with having "given at the office"!

We have it in our power to make a difference in the lives of our fellow Americans. Because "we care," let's take up the CFC torch, hold it high, and light a brighter future for fellow Americans.

Thank you, and God bless.