MAYORS CORNER hear ye hear ye

For those of you who have just returned to Naples welcome back.

Last month my article was all about Irma and I didn’t have the space to give any appropriate kudos that were and are so important to give. I’ll start with the Hilton Hotel on Tamiami Trail North where we stayed during Irma. All of their staff and employees went out of their way to make life bearable from Friday afternoon September 8th through Monday, September 11th. They did their best with no electricity to go the extra mile and make everyone feel as comfortable as possible in dire conditions. They shared every bottle of water, all their food, and even provided flashlights to all that were there.

Thanks to all of our first responders for all they did to keep us safe. To all of those wonderful folks that manned the Collier County Emergency Operations Center for pre and post Irma, it was an amazing display of dedication and talent. For our City Manger and his staff and all of our employees that brought our city back from looking as bad as one could possibly imagine to the spectacular shape it is in today, great job. To each and every member from all of the out of state power companies who left their families to come to Florida and lend a helping hand to help us get our power back. A special thanks to Cosmos restaurant in our city for feeding our first responders the day after Irma and in the days that followed.

I witnessed so many acts of kindness during that traumatic time that I could fill a book with them. Although we were
extremely lucky in the City of Naples our neighbors to the East of us in Everglades City, Chokoloskee, and other rural areas didn’t fare so well. Homes and lives were destroyed and an incredible amount of damage which will take years to rebuild took place. I have always said that Naples is one of the most generous giving communities I have ever seen. As we approach this Holiday Season with our friends and families I ask that you consider donating to a charity that you
might not ordinarily donate to that will benefit the above communities. They really need our help.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on our Collier County Honor Flight. It was an experience of a lifetime and one that I will never forget. Seventy-one Veterans, most of them WWII, along with some that were from the Korean War and a few from the Vietnam era. Each veteran had a guardian assigned to them for the day. We flew from Fort Myers to Washington D.C. where we toured the War Memorials and visited Arlington National Cemetery.

The day started at 3:30 a.m. and ended at midnight. It is extremely difficult to put the entire day in words but seeing the Honor, Respect, and Love that was shown to these veterans was heart-warming. Watching the look on our veterans faces when at the Memorials was very emotional and one can’t imagine what was going through their minds at that moment. If you’re not familiar with our Collier County Honor Flight it is so worthwhile to check them out at It is 100 percent volunteers and there is no charge to the veterans.

Today is October 31st, and I have noticed in the last three days a huge increase in traffic, grocery stores are packed, and
our restaurants are taking reservations again which is a great sign. I know we are going to be extremely busy this winter! I
always like to remind those of you that might be visiting our City for the first time that we have some amazing cutting edge
restaurants in our city and county. My message is if you want to try any of these great eating places make sure you make a reservation or you will be disappointed.

I wish all of you a Happy Healthy Holiday Season and thank all of you for your support shown during Hurricane Irma.
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