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Column: Mayor sends out seasonal greetings, thanks to city

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Season’s greetings from the City of Columbus!

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for the generosity and community spirit shown throughout the year in our great city.

Community spirit is one of our core values and a primary reason we love to call Columbus home. We generously and readily come together in times of need, in times of remembrance and in times of celebration. At no other time is our community spirit more abundant than during the holiday season.

This time of year, we lend an extra hand to our community members in need and spread extra joy through our holiday celebrations. Aided by generous community volunteers and donors, we at the City of Columbus also do our part to ensure the holidays are a cheerful time for all.

I’d like to highlight just a few of the numerous holiday activities we participate in and organize.

The Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund is our oldest and best-known holiday tradition. This year, our firefighters and community volunteers delivered gifts to more than 1,200 excited children and food baskets to more than 200 grateful elderly and disabled. Donations and gifts were generously provided by community members and local businesses. Thank you to all our firefighters, donors and volunteers for your continued help and support.

Our police officers, along with our county sheriff’s deputies and local state police officers, also brighten the holidays for local children through the Shop with a Cop program organized by the Fraternal Order of Police. Our officers and other volunteers used community donations to go shopping with about 300 children this year. The smiles on their faces as they walked the store’s aisles remind us all of the kindness and giving that are so important during this season. Thank you to our officers and generous donors.

This year, the City of Columbus extended the community’s appreciation for our local military veterans by making a contribution to the Sons of the American Legion to purchase natural Christmas wreaths that adorn the graves of our veterans who have passed away.

We can never repay our veterans for their service and sacrifice, but we can always remember them. Thank you to the community for allowing us to make this donation for such a touching tribute.

Christmas in Columbus would not be complete without the city’s official Christmas tree at City Hall. Local resident Ann Stevens generously donated the nearly 30-foot-tall blue spruce from her property here in the city. Our city garage crew, other city workers and Frank’s Tree Service skillfully removed the huge tree from Ann’s yard and put it up at City Hall. It is decorated with more than 2,000 lights and ornaments that reflect beautifully in the glass of City Hall.

It was no small feat. The whole process is documented for you in a short video at Thank you to Ann and all the workers involved in making this beautiful holiday tradition possible.

These are examples of the numerous ways our public and private organizations, faith-based groups and thousands of volunteers and donors generously open their hearts to make this time of year so special in Columbus. Thank you to everyone for the community spirit shown year-round, and especially during the holidays.

I look forward to working with everyone in 2013 to make Columbus an even better, safer, stronger and more prosperous city.

On behalf of everyone at the City of Columbus, I wish you and your family Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a joyous and prosperous New Year!

Kristen Brown is mayor of Columbus. She can be reached by phone at 376-2500.

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