Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just a couple days away and, like you, I too am reflecting on all that I am thankful for. Of course, at the top of the list I am thankful for my wonderful family, their health, for safe travels as I visit local TRTA meetings and attend conferences around the country.

I am also thankful for TRTA, for you, and for our TRTA members and all those who have or are serving in our public schools.

We have much to be thankful for this year. TRTA members worked tirelessly during the past legislative session and we passed legislation that made our TRS pension trust fund actuarially sound! What a great accomplishment to know that our TRS pension trust fund is on sound financial ground and that we are on track to have one of the best funded public pension funds in the country.

We are also grateful for the much needed pension increase for almost 195,000 TRS retirees. We know this has been a long time in the making, and we are grateful to the TRTA members that helped make this legislation a top priority in the Legislature.

We are also grateful for a membership that is ready to get back to work and fight for an increase for those retirees who did not get the raise. We know that all our TRS retirees are hoping to get an increase in their annuity and TRTA is not done working for you! We will continue to fight and represent your needs before the Legislature next session.

We are thankful for all the Texas legislators who unanimously supported our TRTA legislative agenda. We are especially grateful for Senator Robert Duncan and Representative Bill Callegari for authoring SB 1458 and who worked so closely with TRTA to ensure the passage of this vital legislation.

Beyond all else, the TRTA Board of Directors, our TRTA volunteer leaders, your TRTA staff and I are thankful for our TRTA members! It is your support, dedication, organization, leadership, tenacity, and heartfelt commitment to this organization that has made our efforts so successful this year.

Thank you for reading these emails, taking action when asked, working with your legislators, communicating with your fellow TRS retirees and for helping protect TRS benefits for all current and future TRS retirees.

As a final note, I am passing along a special greeting from Beth Unite who is our Texas Retired Teachers Foundation Coordinator. The TRTF Board of Trustees has been very active helping retirees in need, working with the West, Texas relief efforts, promoting our defined benefit retirement plan as a true legacy in this state, and helping Texas active school employees. Please read the message below and know that your generosity is making a difference in hundreds and thousands of lives around Texas.

Tim Lee

With Thanksgiving just days away, it is the perfect time to reflect on the many things for which I am most thankful. Of course, my family, friends, and health are some of the more obvious reasons to be grateful, but I am also extremely thankful for YOU, our devoted TRTA members and advocates. In trying to live a life filled with more gratitude, I feel especially indebted to you for the support you have shown our sister charitable organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation. It is humbling to be a part of an organization that cares so much for their fellow educators.

Since the beginning of November, you have helped us to raise over $72,000, allowing us to be only 28% from reaching our goal! These generous donations in response to our annual appeal are overwhelming and are going to a great cause. Just last week, TRTF received three “A Helping Hand” applications from retirees who are unable to make ends meet due to unexpected illnesses, car and home repairs. Your thoughtfulness will make a difference, not only in the lives of retirees, but in future educators as student scholarships are awarded. Also, active teachers will receive grants to fund innovative projects that further enhance the educational experience of our students.

Many of you have written notes that express your wish to give but the inability to do so due to financial constraints. Your support is equally important to our cause and your desire to help is much appreciated. Contributions come in all different shapes and sizes and your willingness to spread the word of our Legacy Campaign is priceless. Promoting a positive image of public education and educators by providing factual information to our retirees, active teachers, community and legislators on the many issues, including healthcare is invaluable.

May you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving as we celebrate not only our freedom but the joy of being included in a family of individuals with a common interest and aspiration to take care of our own.

–Beth Unite, TRTF Coordinator

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