Be Blessed, Be Safe and Be Thankful!

It is official! The holidays are here. This is the time of year when we give thanks, count our blessings and celebrate a season of giving. Most of us have much to celebrate- a job, health care, shelter and family.

Be a blessing

But there are those who don’t enjoy these basics of life right here in West Park. During this holiday season, many churches, charities, and civic organizations collect food and toys so those who are having difficulties will be able to have a modest holiday celebration.

As you shop and enjoy the decorations in and around West Park during this season, please take a moment to think of those who have less than you. Please take time to share a smile and say hi to your neighbors as you are out and about. Consider giving a toy, sharing some food, money or volunteering your time. Sharing and giving back always makes this season a little more festive for me; I hope it will for you.

Be safe

The holiday season is not only a special time of year, but a very busy time for all of us. It is also a time when we are vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes. Ways to avoid becoming a victim of crime during the holiday season are to be careful, prepared, and aware. Following these useful safety tips will help keep the bah humbugs out of your holiday season

• When setting up holiday displays, be sure that holiday gifts are not visible through the windows or doors of your home. Be aware that criminals may pose as couriers delivering gifts or working for charities that they are not affiliated with. Avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime by asking for identification or donating directly to a recognized charity. When leaving the house, be extra careful about locking all doors and windows even if you’re only leaving for a few minutes. If you’re taking a trip, request a vacation check through Broward Sheriff Office. Ask a neighbor or family member to watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail. Place interior and exterior lights on an automatic timer.

• When holiday shopping, park your car in a well-lighted area and as close as possible to your destination. Do not put your packages or purse on top of your car when unlocking or opening doors. Maintain a firm grip on your purse and packages at all times. Never leave your packages in your car in plain view. Lock your packages in the trunk or keep them covered in the rear cargo area. Stay alert to your surroundings! If there are suspicious people in the area, do not approach your car. Ask mall or store security for an escort and be sure to locate your keys before you leave the store.

• Avoid shopping alone at night. Ask friends or family members to join you and remember to set your car alarm. If your car is not equipped with an alarm, use an antitheft device such as a steering-wheel lock.

• Take additional precautions during the holidays. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash. Use ATMs located inside a mall or in a well-lighted location. Make sure that you only withdraw the amount of cash that you need. If anyone is standing near you during your ATM transaction, shield the keypad to prevent anyone from obtaining your PIN. Discard your ATM receipt at home or in a secure location. If your credit card is lost or stolen, notify the card issuer immediately.

• Keep your children safe by never sending them unescorted to the restroom. Children should also never be left alone in the car. Teach children to stay close to you at all times and to inform you immediately if a stranger is bothering them.

Be thankful

So as we prepare to close out another year, we are truly blessed to live in a wonderful city that continues to accomplish much and move forward. We have faced disappointments and difficult times this past year—as individuals, as families, and as a City. The beauty of holidays helps us find a calm and inner peace and bring to life the words, “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright”. I hope that over the coming days, you will be able to slow down and remember the true meaning of this season. Once all of the hustle and bustle is put aside, family, friends, and those we love are what is really important and add real value to our daily lives. I am hopeful that you and your loved ones have a joyful and blessed holiday and that the New Year brings peace, and happiness.

I am looking forward to the New Year with optimism and a true sense of duty to continue working with my fellow City Commission and Staff to ensure that West Park continues to be prosperous and progressive. Thank you for being the caring and giving community that you are. I want to wish each of you a safe, happy holiday season and prosperous New Year 2013.

God Bless you all.

Remember to contact me at City Hall with your ideas, suggestions or concerns. I represent you and appreciate your input into the continued success of our beloved city. I can be reached at (954) 889-4164 or email

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