Mike Rowe reveals he’s ‘thankful to be living in America during the most remarkable year of my life’

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EXCLUSIVE: On Thanksgiving, Mike Rowe will be expressing his appreciation for the everyday Americans who kept 2020 running.

"This year, I’m thankful for the UPS driver, the FedEx driver and the Amazon Prime driver,” the former “Dirty Jobs” host told Fox News. “I’m also thankful for the people at Zoom (even though I curse them) and the guy who just upgraded my internet connection (even though I had to wait a month for him to get to me.).”

“I’m thankful that my parents are still healthy and celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary,” the 58-year-old continued. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to run a foundation that’s making a real difference in people’s lives… Mostly though, I’m thankful to be living in America, during the most remarkable year of my life. With the possible exception of 2021.”

There’s also one thing that this year has taught Rowe to be especially grateful for.

Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame has been filming "Returning the Favor" since 2017.
(Getty)

“I’m thankful for toilet paper (even the weird, thin kind that frequently disappoints) and for the opportunity to use it indoors,” he shared.

The Emmy-winning TV host has been keeping busy with his Facebook Watch show “Returning the Favor,” where he travels the country to highlight remarkable people making a difference in their communities.

Recently, Rowe virtually visited Maine due to the coronavirus pandemic and surprised Dan Waite, founder of Operation ReBoot Outdoors. The nonprofit organization aims to improve the lives of veterans suffering from PTSD or other traumas by connecting with nature.

Many honorees, including Waite, are selected from the official Facebook group for the series. Members nominate a local leader and former honorees can share their success stories. 

So far, “Returning the Favor” has recognized and awarded 13 organizations dedicated to improving the lives of veterans. Rowe recently told Fox News he hopes the series will encourage viewers to remember those who defend our country.

“We take so many of our freedoms for granted,” said Rowe. “The Bill of Rights, every freedom in the Constitution, the freedom to move around freely. Every good and decent thing we enjoy was paid in blood by men and women who put on a uniform and then went away.”

“We’ve abandoned them,” Rowe shared. “That might be too strong of a word, but we haven’t stepped up to do what we can to help them reassemble. We haven’t put them at the front of the line to get them the help and opportunities they need once they come home. We have a duty ourselves to return the favor. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years. We take things for granted. It is a very human thing to do. But unfortunately, the men and women who wear the uniform are among the things we take for granted.”

Rowe is aware that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for Americans to actively take part in local organizations aiming to help veterans. However, he insisted that a simple “thank you” always goes a long way.

So far, "Returning the Favor" has recognized and awarded 13 organizations dedicated to improving the lives of veterans. Rowe refers to them as "the ultimate first responders."
(Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

“I think a lot of people who are grateful to our men and women in uniform don’t express their gratitude because they’re not quite sure how to do it,” he said. “They don’t want to overstep or overreach. They don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But I’ve never met a veteran – man or woman – who didn’t appreciate a stranger coming up to them and just saying, ‘Thank you. I really appreciate what you have done on my behalf.’”

Rowe suggested some simple gestures anyone can do at any time of the year.

“Buy him or her a beer, pick up a tab,” he said. “Just at a restaurant alone, there are a lot of very simple ways to say thank you. Anyone can acknowledge a veteran – that’s not headline news… But there is a very real problem that exists, one that’s plaguing the veteran community. The suicide rates are scandalous and PTSD is very real. Taking the time just to say thank you alone can make a huge impact on someone’s life.”

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