Thanks and gratitude, good fortune. These words came to mind when I was given the opportunity to chair the 2013 State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). When I last served as chair, there was gratitude and good luck of a different sort: it was the year that Katrina devastated New Orleans and Rita plowed through east Texas, and most of us were thankful to have escaped relatively unscathed. Then, in 2008, Ike hit home.

From the chaos and destruction that followed, I’m left with a moment I’ll always remember: Being in a long FEMA line, and a heartfelt conversation with a very elderly and frail woman who kept repeating, “I just want to get back to my home, I just want my life back.”

Most of us at UTMB have our lives back, are back in homes, have great jobs with good benefits and some stability in an increasingly uncertain world. We look around, and in place of devastation, we see growth and progress. We’re lucky. I wonder about the woman in the FEMA line, and if she ever returned to her home and her life, and of thousands of other people still struggling through personal storms, financial droughts, floods of misfortune, perilous health and tempests of the heart and mind.

The SECC is our way to help them. It runs from Oct. 31 until Nov. 30; our theme is “Lucky 2013”—a nod to how fortunate we are at this time and in this place.  Arrive early to visit a few of the many charitable groups that benefit from the campaign. Giving is easy, and any cause that is important to you is represented. Everything you need to know is on this site. Please explore!

For as long as I’ve been here, the remarkable people of UTMB have always opened their hearts, purses and wallets to help those in need. We’ve consistently been a leader in the state, among the top in giving, and always blazing new trails. I’m grateful for all my good fortune. I’m also grateful for you, and what your generous support will make possible.

Please join me in this opportunity, on the 20th anniversary of our support for SECC, to share our luck and give thanks.

Pamela G. Watson, RN, ScD
Vice President of Education and
Dean, School of Nursing


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