Former mayor reflects on his city

Posted: Monday, November 01, 2004

As I leave the office of mayor of the city of Kenai, I take a few moments to reflect on my community and the many friends and associates that have made my long tenure possible. One could spend a lifetime searching for a correct mix of community, friends and family and still not come up with a place like Kenai, the place I call home.

The retirement party that was hosted by my administration, staff and the community on my behalf on Oct. 22 was not only a tribute to me and my family, but also a tribute to so many of you who have helped to make our community such a success during my years as your mayor. Thanks are not enough and words are difficult to find that express just how proud and honored I am to have had the privilege of serving you. Our community has long been blessed with an attitude that working together, we could do more. Team work has been the key to success and the many groups that have teamed together, with me, and on their own is the real secret to our success.

During the last 18 years we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the village we call Kenai. We gifted ourselves with many fine facilities that are being enjoyed by all of our citizens from our oldest seniors to our youngest children. We became an All-American City recognized by the entire country and rewarded by the President of the United States. We have been awarded numerous honors by our governors, our legislators, the Alaska Municipal League and Conference of Mayors for our progress and projects. We have involved ourselves in intertional affairs through our connections with our Russian neighbors and through our Sister Cities delegation. We have involved ourselves in dialogue with our national congressional delegation to the benefit of the entire state of Alaska. We have provided for our children and citizens in ways that so many other communities can only imagine. And through it all we have maintained an atmosphere of welcome and brotherly love that most of our citizens are so proud of.

The city of Kenai has become a community of service to all of the Kenai Peninsula's people.

Looking back over the years I am reminded of a quote I gave at the very first public speech of my beginning term as mayor. It was 1986. We were at the sports center in Soldotna and times were going from bad to worse. The quote was by Knute Rockne: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And as I closed that morning presentation, I offered another quote from Robert Schuller: "Tough times never last, but tough people do." Eighteen years later, they were both right. Look what our communities have done.

As I close, let me once again thank all of the 21 past and present council members with whom I have served, and our entire city administration, staff and employees who have so faithfully performed their duties all these years on behalf of the public. To all of you who have supported me through thick and thin, good times and not so good times, may God bless you all. To my entire family, my children and grandchildren, and especially my wife, Sharon, thank you for being there and for being supportive of all my endeavors. It would not have been worth it except for all of you.

John J. Williams is the past mayor of the city of Kenai.

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