Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Perhaps the analogy is most often used when we look back on opportunities missed. However, when I reflect on the past year I remember all the opportunities taken, not missed, that improved the lives of others.
I remember the acts of kindness, love and compassion shown throughout the year. When we consider setting goals for 2020, let’s look with 20/20 vision to the good things in the past as examples of what we should be doing in the future.
My role as mayor has privileged me to witness incredible acts of service in our communities by our very own city employees. Just last month I went with our police department to participate in United Way’s Sub for Santa. I watched as they took families Christmas shopping using donations from the community. When the donations weren’t enough, I witnessed some officers take money out of their own pockets to buy a winter coat for a mother in need.
Earlier in the year I was also honored to see American Fork City staff pool their resources to donate hundreds of books to the Dan Peterson School for special needs children; more than doubling the goal. They did so on their own dime and their own time because they love their town.
Perhaps many of you also heard about our three off-duty firefighters who saved a man this last spring who had fallen into the fast-moving canyon river, showing us that devotion to duty and selflessness are the characteristics that make our men and women in uniform so special.
Great acts of compassion aren’t just reserved for city employees. I was also encouraged this last year by the many residents in our community who selflessly gave their time, energy and resources to help people they didn’t even know. Like when the American Fork High School Honors Society pays respect to our senior citizens every year by hosting a dinner in their honor, complete with entertainment. Simple acts by everybody make a huge difference.
This last year, American Fork recognized Chuck Goodwin and Brian “Bucket” Parker who have given over 30 years coaching youth baseball. Then there’s Larry and Vada Hunter who helped those displaced by the Paradise Fire in California by donating their fifth-wheel trailer and gathering supplies to fill another five trailers, all of which were sent to California.
Yes, I have seen many great acts of kindness during my time as mayor. But I also know that countless other acts of kindness I haven’t seen take place by the good men and women that live around us. People choosing to serve one another will do more to improve a community than any program, utility, or amenity can provide.
In looking back with 20/20 vision at all the good accomplished, let’s continue carrying it into 2020 with a sense of purpose and a sense of community. Check in on your neighbors, say hello to a stranger, volunteer your time, or simply pick up that piece of trash you see on the street. With acts of kindness, regardless of how big or small, we build up our communities and improve our quality of life.