Commissioner Stuart – July 2016
Commissioner Robert F. Stuart, City of Orlando District 3
Last month our City experienced the most horrific tragedy in our history. But in a few short hours, days, weeks, we have continued to prove that we will rise from the ashes, and that this single event will not define us. The outpouring to my office of individuals, groups, families, churches, faith-based organizations, and businesses wanting to help was awe inspiring, so many inquiries from our own District 3 residents. And the letters and calls we received from other government agencies from around the world were comforting in a time of sorrow.
Children’s icon Fred Rogers said that, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Those words certainly ring true in this scenario, when we saw not only the heroic actions of our first responders, but also the actions of so many neighboring businesses and community groups who pitched in to assist. Then there are our City residents who are joining together to do all they can during this difficult time.
As I write this, the OneOrlando Fund (oneorlando.org) has already raised more than $8.6 million dollars.
But I think the question on everyone’s mind, is where do we go from here? How do we make sure we stand #OrlandoUnited in the coming months, even the coming years? My prayer is that we can somehow bottle this spirit of giving and not only continue to use it to help all of those affected by this terrible experience, but also to support all facets of our City and all of the people in it.
Here in our District 3 community, consider joining the award-winning Audubon Park Garden District as a member of one of their hard-working committees; no matter what your talent, they can use your help. This organization puts on many events, such as Zombietoberfest, which bring us together and build community, while also supporting our awesome small businesses. Or if you live in Baldwin Park, take a moment to look at what openings they have on their boards and committees and take the leap to get involved.
Or consider mentoring at one of our great City schools. Visit foundationforocps.org for ideas on how you can serve even if you are short on time.
There are so many small acts of kindness that can also make a big difference in our community. You could go out to dinner. Many of the small businesses surrounding Pulse were greatly affected, so next time you are craving pizza, or a Cuban sandwich, visit downtownsouthorlando.org for some delicious restaurant ideas.
Or clean out your closet and donate what you don’t use to one of our worthwhile charitable organizations. Something as simple as offering your mail carrier a bottle of water, putting change in an expired parking meter, or sending a thank you note can all make someone’s day a little brighter.
One of our District 3 residents closes all of her e-mails with a great quote. It says, “If you think you are too small to be effective, then you have never shared a bed with a mosquito.”
You are making a difference; every day that you teach your children tolerance and embrace the amazing strength that comes with the diversity of our community, you are making our City a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. As you may have heard me say, “Let’s show the world that the qualities that define us are stronger than any attempt to divide us.”
Now more than ever, I am so proud to be your city commissioner and I don’t take lightly the job with which you have entrusted me. I am grateful for each of you and your service to Orlando.