Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Ridge: 'Great to Be Alive' - NBC Chicago
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Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Ridge: 'Great to Be Alive'

He says he's filled with gratitude, even though his doctors won't let him touch turkey and mashed potatoes

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    Getty Images for FEHSF
    Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge attends the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation 2016 Ridge Awards at Sheraton Times Square on May 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for FEHSF)

    Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge says "it's great to be alive" this Thanksgiving.

    The former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary issued a statement Wednesday from the hospital in Austin, Texas, where he's recovering from a heart attack.

    Ridge says he's thankful for the "outpouring of love and concern" after his health emergency.

    He says he's filled with gratitude, even though his doctors won't let him touch turkey and mashed potatoes.

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    He had been attending a Republican Governors Association conference last week when he called for medical help at his hotel.

    The Republican served two terms as Pennsylvania governor from 1995 to 2001. He was the first homeland security secretary, serving under President George W. Bush until 2005.

    A statement on Monday said Ridge was in intensive care. It wasn't clear if he remains there.