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.

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

The Republican served 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.

Outbrain