With some of these folks we engage in conversations regarding our children, grandkids, the events of the day and even a little venting at times, regarding something that is bothering us.
As a species, human beings are, overall, engaging and friendly. We do have some idiosyncrasies that set us apart from other groups, but for the most part we are caring, loving and generous people, especially our fellow citizens here in America.
I am particularly proud of those men and women who we share our lives with here on Marco Island. They come from all walks of life and all corners of this great country and from foreign lands. They are the heart and soul of what makes this island and Collier County such a wonderful place to live.
I’ve been here on Marco for over 30 years, having discovered our island back in 1986, purchasing my first home here then, but moving here fulltime in 1990. Since then I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of you on a first name basis. I would watch friends get married and have children. I would have sad days also, as we would say goodbye to many friends who would pass from us, some all too early in life.
Marco Island has grown and matured as a community over all these years, especially since incorporation with the efforts to control our own destiny as a stand-alone municipality within Collier County. We’ve had some growing pains as we moved forward and matured as a community. Can I tell you we’ve been perfect in our execution of every aspect of this process? Of course I can’t; I won’t lie to you.
A number of the people I mentioned earlier are just some of those hard working, dedicated and honest folks that work for you within the city structure. They are the men and women that get up every day and do their best to insure your ballfields are mowed and stripped for the Senior Softball League or for one of the special events at Mackle Park or Veterans Community Park. They work replacing street signs, while insuring the traffic signal devices are operating successfully.
When you’re asleep at night and the temperature dips down into the 40s, they roll out of their beds and deal with broken water mains or a problem with a wastewater lift station. Their dedication to getting the job done is never in question.
If you walk into city hall or the police station and see that it is clean and tidy, that doesn’t happen on its own, it’s because someone made that happen to protect your community buildings.
When your husband or wife is clutching their chest and you know it is a life or death situation, I’m sure you don’t lift up the phone and call some “Class A” personality who has no idea of what to do… you call 911 and look for those first responders you’ve always had faith in that work for you.
If your elderly parent or spouse goes missing, or your child is late coming home from school, while your mind races in a million directions fearing the worst, it’s the officer who comes to your door and calms you down so you both can deal in a rational manner to resolve the situation.
Your wife is home alone and she hears the sound of breaking glass on a rear slider. Who do you call? Who do you place your confidence in?
Walk into city hall and you’ll find a staff that is top notch and are willing to help you to the best of their abilities, and when they can’t, they will find someone that can. Following Hurricane Irma, the staff worked around the clock to try and best support your needs so the island could return to normal.
I guess I’m a bit disturbed to read some of the emails and hear comments which are so disparaging and critical as to the quality of the people we have, by some that don’t engage within the community and others that find it fashionable to degrade and criticize those that serve as your city staff.
I think it’s time the community spoke up; “For the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced awardwinning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com