Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge: "Great to be alive" after health scare

AUSTIN, Texas -- 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, Texas, 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.

"I wish everyone a wonderful, restful and peaceful Thanksgiving. It's great to be alive, enjoying the embrace of family and friends, and the blessings of so many who have been looking out for us," Ridge said, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

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. 

Ridge appeared on "The Takeout" podcast with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett and political director Steve Chaggaris last week.

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