BRONXVILLE, NY — December 21, 2020 — President John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” As we enjoy the holiday season and the tradition of counting our blessings, I thought there was no better time to stop and share my gratitude. Covid has certainly changed our lives, but I also think it has brought words like gratitude, blessed, loved and appreciated more to the forefront. My personal thanks starts with you, all of the Village residents, who have given me the opportunity to be part of the leadership team governing our special home. It has been the job and the honor of a lifetime. I thank everyone in Village government who stepped up when called and stepped up extraordinarily -our police officers who continue to pick up medicine and groceries for our senior citizens in addition to their normal duties of answering calls; our police chief who is passionate about trying to control the virus in our Village; our DPW staff who never missed a day of work during the height of the crisis; the administrative and library staffs who kept things opened when so many other communities closed shop and whose leaders, Village Administrator, Jim Palmer and Library Director, Greg Wirszyla, led by sterling example.
And of course, overwhelming thanks to all of our first responders; the Bronxville Police Department, EVAC and the Eastchester Fire Department who early on and continue to risk their lives entering people’s homes and caring for them not knowing what awaits them. So many of the people they aided were brought to NYP/Lawrence Hospital where they were cared for by some of the most hard-working and dedicated people I have ever had the privilege to witness. I would often see staff, after long shifts, waiting patiently for Metro North trains that arrived at a snail’s pace. Their selflessness was awe inspiring.
All of our civic groups stepped up in one way or another with our Rotary Club leading the way. When I helped to deliver gift cards purchased by the Rotary to our postal workers, there was many moistened eyes of gratitude. Villagers then bought gift cards, gift cards and more gift cards; ordered books online from Womrath‘s and take out dinners from virtually every eating establishment. Then our Bronxville FOR Bronxville initiative was launched as a completely organic response from concerned residents who immediately distributed 19 $5,000 loans to keep some of our businesses afloat in early spring and are now in the process of dispensing almost $400,000 in low interest loans to local merchants. The third prong of this grassroots generosity is online donations via the Chamber
Commerce. With gifts averaging well below $100, almost $25,000 has been raised so far to disperse to merchants to cover costs of Covid protections as well as partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to make the Village as attractive as possible during this critically important holiday season.
In essence, every resident seems to say, I am here to help. I thank our restauranteurs and merchants who show indomitable spirit, perseverance and hope in the face of an unimaginable adversary. How lucky are we that they chose Bronxville as their business home. Despite Covid, we in Village government knew we have had to keep going with as much business as usual as possible. Much was accomplished in the past nine months thanks to the literally dozens of Village residents who stepped up to join our volunteer boards, be it Planning, Zoning, Design Review, the Board of Assessment Review, the Library Board and the Finance and Ethics Committees. We simply could not have functioned without their commitment to give of their time and share their skills.
A huge debt of gratitude goes to the Bronxville School faculty and staff under the inspired leadership of Superintendent Roy Montesano who keeps our school going thanks to incredible commitment that required months of planning. Our school’s continuous functioning, despite so many obstacles placed before it, serves as a beacon of hope to all Villagers. The young people of the Village deserve our admiration and frankly I am in awe of their resilience, their spirit, their kindness and the smiles on their faces despite a truly unprecedented change in their lives. So many of them lost the opportunity to share in the collective joys of graduations, sports victories, birthday parties and just being with friends. You are an example to all of us.
I think our Village proves what David Brooks one said in an editorial that there was a lot of surplus goodness in daily life that cannot be explained by logic. It could be explained by gratitude which is the form of social glue that binds us all together and reminds us that a society isn’t just a contract based on mutual benefit but an organic connection based on natural sympathy; connections that are nurtured not by self-interest but by loyalty and service. I send this message filled with gratitude described by G.K. Chesterton, “thanks are the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” We are so fortunate to live in a Village resplendent with wonder.
# # #
SOURCE: Mary Ann Maglioto | Assistant to the Mayor & Village Administrator | Bronxville Village Hall