Opinion: Community Spirit

WMGSnook Creek. Photo: Facebook.

This past Saturday was a great day for community spirit here in Wilton Manors.  A group of Westside residents came together in the morning to help clean up Snook Creek Boat Ramp, then later that day, the city hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, honoring those who serve on various city boards and organizations here in Wilton Manors.

The Snook Creek Boat Ramp is a small city park on Powerline Road right before you cross the bridge into Fort Lauderdale. Three months ago, the Westside Association participated in the Broward County Waterway Clean-Up. As part of that event, WAWM volunteers visited two parks with water access on the Westside to pick up trash and clear debris from the banks of the waterways. Due to the use of this park by area homeless, WAWM volunteers had their work cut out for them. Four bags of trash later, we called it a day; but all agreed that the Westside should continue this clean-up on a monthly basis as one of our organization’s Neighborhood Beautification Projects. Last month we had only three volunteers, but we energetically went about picking up the trash. This past Saturday ten people arrived ready to join neighbors and help make our community a better place. Our esprit de corps definitely got a boost from our growing numbers, but also by corrective actions taken by city staff that seemed to make a huge difference in the amount of trash present in the park.  WAWM volunteers will be out again next month, hopefully with even more volunteers and a continued decrease in trash and debris. It’s a good feeling when neighbors come together to make a difference.

Later that day, it was off to the city’s Volunteer Luncheon at Hagen Park Community Center. Once again, one cannot help but notice how lucky we are as a city to have so many wonderful and committed volunteers who serve on city boards, committees, and organizations. City staff did a great job hosting the event, and big thanks to our elected officials, Mayor Gary Resnick, Vice Mayor Scott Newton, and Commissioner Tom Green for taking part in the festivities.  Commissioners Justin Flippen and Julie Carson could not attend, but sent their thanks to the volunteers.

Leaving the luncheon and feeling very content and happy about living in this community we call Wilton Manors, I was hopeful that this feeling of camaraderie might be a bit infectious and work its way to our next city commission meeting. At the last meeting, Commissioner Carson seemed to let anger and frustration boil over into personal attacks on other commissioners. Living and working together as a community often takes a lot of compromise, understanding, frustration and, yes, disagreements with others; but we still must respect one another and the different opinions that make up this wonderful community.  Big kudos to Commissioner Flippen, who responded to the attacks in a truly professional manner, a manner one would expect from a City Commissioner sitting on the dais at a public meeting.

Community involvement takes a huge commitment, but most volunteers do not even recognize their efforts as a commitment.  They do it because they want to make a difference. They want to build a better place to call home, and to work with others to make dreams a reality. Let’s take a moment and use the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon this past Saturday as a beacon, showing us the way as we   move forward to a better Wilton Manors.

‘Cause life is just better here ….

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