30 Days of Thanks, 1 Day of Turkey, and 50 Years of Blessings

We’ve reached the three-quarter mark of United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Thirty Days of Thanks, with the big day less than 12 hours away. I hope you’re spending Thanksgiving with those you love. This week, I’m lucky to spend time with my family in South Carolina. Our plans to partake in food, football, and fellowship are not unlike most, but this year comes with an extra celebration for me.   

Tomorrow is my 50th birthday. I say that with eagerness as I recognize that my journey to this point has been relatively smooth and highly enjoyable – to put it lightly. I’m reminded, and occasionally surprised, by my now salt-and-pepper reflection that I am no longer the 25-year-old I still feel like most days, and that suits me just fine.

As the day has approached, I’ve spent time considering the things in my life for which I am most grateful. And I see, in retrospect, that I am highly blessed. It’s not that I’ve been blind to that fact before, but now, I’m able to look upon those blessings with a wisdom five decades in the making. A wisdom that has reminded me throughout the years that the most special blessings are not tangible.

My wife, Kim, and sons, Chance and Tucker, fill my days and fulfill my life, and I am grateful for their love. My parents, siblings, and relatives remind me that loyalty and dedication are attributes far too often ignored, and I am grateful for their support. And the folks that came before me, from which I gleamed the lessons that continue to light my path ahead, I’m grateful for their guidance.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to work for an organization as meaningful as United Way and grateful for its devoted supporters who offer their time, talent, a treasure to further our mission of eradicating poverty. That love, support, and guidance I am blessed with drives my passion for our vision to build equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable. Tomorrow, as I begin my 51st year and offer my thanks for all that I have, I’ll say a prayer for the ability to do more and give more to move that vision forward. And if I’m blessed with such a capability, then I’ll be grateful for that too.  

This is a time for the thanksgiving, no doubt. But I ask you to consider joining me in uniting your thankfulness with action and generosity, and remind you that we only have one life to live. To live better, we must Live United. 


Michael Williamson
President and CEO
United Way of Southeast Louisiana