Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we remember and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., CSM Hartless and I encourage you to reflect on the importance of being involved in what matters to you.

Dr. King's insights resonate through time. Those "things that matter" arose from a set of values overlapping our Army Values -- Respect, especially, comes to mind. Over this weekend, we encourage you to reflect on what is important to you, your Family, and our Army.

Safety, of course, is important in its own way. Beyond our concern for your well-being, injuries hamper our efforts to provide the finest customer service to our Soldiers, their Families, and our Army Civilians. Consider the following:

While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all of us, regardless of where we live, are likely to face some type of increased hazard. One primary concern is the weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or workplace, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Make a Family Communications Plan (see http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan). Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

If you decide to travel over the extended weekend, avoid danger by planning ahead. Check the weather before you leave, but remember, storms can roll in pretty quickly. Travel with warm blankets in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to keep warm overnight waiting for help to arrive. Do preventive maintenance on your vehicle as recommended. Check antifreeze level and tire tread. Replace windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture. Additional winter driving tips can be found at https://safety.army.mil/MEDIA/SeasonalSafetyCampaigns/Winter2013.aspx.

If you go outside for winter activities, dress warm, stay dry and avoid alcohol use. Know the signs of frostbite and other cold weather injuries. Notify friends and family where you will be before you go hiking, camping or skiing. For more information about frostbite and hypothermia, see Stay Safe & Healthy (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/index.asp).

Finally, keep track of your mental state. Depression is not uncommon during the long winter months. If you need help, don't hesitate. It is not a sign of weakness, but Personal Courage. Look out for your battle buddy. We are a Family and must help each other at all times.

As we move forward, know that the CSM and I are excited about what our IMCOM Family is going to accomplish. The services we provide our Soldiers, their Families, and our Army Civilians are essential to preserving our Nation -- a Nation made great by great men like Dr. King.

Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier. Soldier for Life!

LTG David Halverson CSM Jeff Hartless