AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says “it’s great to be alive” this Thanksgiving.

Ridge issued a statement Wednesday from the hospital in Austin, where he’s recovering from a heart attack.

He 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.

gettyimages 532991166 Ex Homeland Security Secretary Ridge: Great To Be Alive

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 19: Former Governor Tom Ridge speaks onstage during the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation 2016 Ridge Awards at Sheraton Times Square on May 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for FEHSF)

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.

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