Serving on the Forest Park Village Council has been the most rewarding public service experience of my life. I was honored when the voters elected me in 2011, and for those Forest Park residents that I have not yet told personally, I would like to express my appreciation for your trust. I have focused my service as a commissioner on bringing new ideas and a deep commitment to giving back to make our community strong.

The reason I ran for village commissioner in 2011 is the same reason I am running for re-election on April 7. I believe we have an excellent community with a well-planned and operated government, and I want to do my part to help. There is always room for improvement and innovation in any organization, and the best organizations welcome the participation of new people and appreciate new ideas. Over the last four years, the progress we have made is due to a collaborative effort by our elected officials with community leaders and community groups.

In order for the village of Forest Park to continue advancing and progressing, not only do we need strong leaders in government, we also need good people to get involved in our community. The more that families and residents get involved, the stronger our community becomes. Too often I hear from folks about how they don’t know how to get involved. There are plenty of opportunities in Forest Park and there is room for everyone, regardless of your time availability.

There are innumerable people involved in the Forest Park Kiwanis Club, but they always need a few extra helping hands. From helping plan a fundraiser at Circle Lanes to the 1st Annual Soap Box Derby in May, there are plenty of opportunities to jump in, roll up your sleeves, and help others by volunteering.

The Forest Park Food Pantry and their volunteers feed hundreds of families every year and they do it with a smile. More often than not, they pull a rabbit out of their hat to make sure no Forest Park family goes hungry. Volunteering there could be as simple as dropping off some non-perishable food or, if you have more time, helping make family dinner boxes. Every little bit counts.

One of things I know I look forward to every summer is Cruise Nights. Great bands, cool cars, and good company … what could be more fun on a summer night? The organizers of this event are always looking for volunteers and for only a few hours a month you can have fun while showcasing some great cars and our amazing community.

Once April 7 passes, the lawn signs will come down and the tense (but hopefully friendly) political competitions will end. At that point, we can all focus our efforts on the things that matter, so that four years from now, we can reflect back on the new progress we have achieved and appreciate the new friends we have made along the way.