As the year draws to a close, I would like to extend best wishes to everyone for a happy holiday and health and happiness in the year ahead. This year, as a care community, Saskatoon Health Region staff, physicians and volunteers have made a tremendous contribution to the health of our community, providing competent, compassionate care and exceptional service to thousands of people from across the province. I recently chatted with a gentleman who described his experience this way: “Staff really care – they are not just doing a job.” You prove that every day in many ways. Thank you.

I hope that over the holidays, you have a few moments to reflect on the difference you make. Whether you celebrate Christmas or have other faith and family traditions, this is a time to look back on the contributions you have made, and hopefully have a chance to celebrate with family and friends.

For me, Christmas has always been a special time of year. I have many fond memories of growing up in Prince Edward Island, where Christmas Day included skating on the rink in our back yard with my cousins, sister and four brothers. Each year we would also visit elderly relatives who lived on a farm house down a long country lane. Their home had neither running water nor electricity, but as children we loved visiting the animals in the barn and sitting around the piano singing carols. Dinner in my home was a big affair, attended by my immediate family and sometimes other relatives and international students from the university who had no family nearby with whom to celebrate the day.

Much has changed since those days. This year, my husband Art and I will travel to Ontario to spend Christmas with his mother and other family members. We will be joined by my two sons and daughter-in-law. It will be a time of much laughter, story telling and good food. We will also count our blessings and remember that many are not as fortunate.

As the New Year approaches, I will also be mulling on my New Year’s resolutions. On my wish list is certainly my hope to serve you well and to do my best to make Saskatoon Health Region a community where we can all be proud to work and feel valued.

Best wishes to you and your families.