It’s that time of year again. On Thursday families across the country will gather to overindulge on turkey and pumpkin pie while trying desperately to steer clear of any mention of politics. Despite the tumultuous events of the past year, there is plenty to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. For millions of public employees and their families, this includes the financial security and peace of mind provided by pensions.

If you’re an avid reader of Defined Benefit, you’re familiar with the intricacies of how pensions provide exemplary retirement security while attracting top talent and boosting states’ economies.

But the true value of pensions isn’t found in the numbers. To understand the importance of pensions, talk to a pensioner.

These are the people who rely on pension benefits to pay the bills each month, to pay for medical care and food. They spent decades serving their communities, contributing their share with each paycheck. These are the people whose lives are directly impacted when anti-pension ideologues like John Arnold spend millions of dollars attacking retirement security.

For retirees, a pension provides something invaluable: peace of mind. Here are some of their stories:

“My wife was ill with end stage liver disease, and I retired early – the first day I qualified for a pension – to take care of her. My retirement annuity is very small, but it is regular, and it allowed me to extend my late wife’s life far beyond what her doctor had predicted…and it allows me to have a secure retirement on my own now. I would not be able to do this without it.”

– Mark S., Pennsylvania

“I taught 7th grade for 34 years in Aurora Public Schools. I loved teaching because we are able to make a difference in the lives of our students. As a retiree with a defined benefit pension, I have been able to volunteer countless hours back to my community through my work at our senior center, ushering at the local theater and working for political candidates who support pensions and public education.”

– Bev G., Colorado

“I worked for 39 years with the elderly as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Racine, WI. I loved working with the people I cared for and they became my family in my heart. I was finally able to retire because I worked for so long to build both my pension and my Social Security savings. My secure retirement means that, as a retiree, I can volunteer a lot more with my church and in my community. I am also able to help care for my mother now that I am retired. She needs care on a daily basis, and I am thankful that I am able to be there for her.”

– Ethel G. Wisconsin

For more stories, check out NPPC’s YouTube channel. You can share your own story here.

Pensions enable working people to retire with security and dignity. This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for the opportunity to fight to protect them.