A big part of our mission as a city is to serve. How we serve takes many different forms. We respond to emergency calls, we take care of the streets that we drive on, we provide recreational programs to play in, we make sure buildings are built right and food sold in restaurants is safe to eat. We serve in many ways but for me it’s the little things that often go unnoticed that reflect the best of the organization and illustrate the heart of the Kent community. The ‘big’ stories may get more headlines but it’s those extra things that make Kent such a great place to live. Christmas Eve seems to be a great day to share a few of those special stories made possible by Kent city employees that care beyond the call of duty.
Here’s a couple of examples of city employees caring for their community.
1. Holiday Donations
The employees in the Budget and Finance Office organized a collection for food items and/or cash to help less fortunate families in our community during this holiday season. It’s a purely voluntary employee driven effort that a couple employees in the Budget Office organized, promoted and performed. Of course the Budget Office has a great way to reach out to all the employees, it’s called the paycheck, and by attaching their appeal for employees to help with one of the paychecks sent out earlier this month, the city employees got the message. And I was pleased to hear that the employees responded with donations of $759 and 6 boxes of food (very large boxes, like freezer size boxes) that was shared with the agencies in our area that can get it to the people that need it most. Special thanks to Rebecca, John and Therese that worked so hard to pull this off.
2. Shop with a Cop
A couple of weeks ago the Record Courier had a picture with a caption that referenced a program organized by Ravenna police officers to help kids in need during the holidays. In the spirit of regional cooperation, we had a couple of Kent Officers participate and a Kent Service Department employee volunteered to play the role of santa. Here’s more from Kent Police Officer John Altomare was joined by Officer Buster Harris in this Shop with a Cop program.
“The program that Buster Harris and I participated in was through the Ravenna Police Dept. They have been doing this for about 8 or 9 years. They put on a great program and spend a lot of time preparing for this day. Officer Dustin Svab is the cop in charge of it and you can probably call over there to talk to him about the history of their program and all of that goes into it.
For the past 3 years, Buster and I have attended after we first became aware of it. The last 2 years, Santa was played by R.D. Greenleaf from our service department. The Ravenna program provides for a breakfast for the officers, the kids, and the kids families at the Ravenna Moose Club. This year they had just over 100 kids that went shopping. The kids are told to they can only buy for themselves and they have $100 to spend. The cops follow them around keeping track of the amount as well as making sure that they buy only for themselves. They ask us to try and get the kids to get some clothes (gloves, hats, shoes, etc) along with buying toys. So, we go around and follow them while they shop. Buster and I have said how enjoyable it is to do this. The first year, we both had kids from Kent, so although the program is sponsored by Ravenna and includes many Ravenna residents, they help families from all over the county. There are a lot of volunteers besides cops from all around the county who participate. A lot of the court staff including judges take part. I saw cops from Akron U. PD, rangers from ODNR as well as local cops and deputies.
I know that you told me not to be modest, but the part that Buster and I played was but a very small part and doesn’t really amount to very much. The real credit goes to Svab and the members of the Ravenna Police Dept, the Moose Lodge, Wal-Mart and the others that have donated to the cause.”
These few examples serve as a reminder that Kent city employees are more than carpenters, cops and inspectors, they’re people that have made caring for Kent their life’s work. And they’re why I’m so proud to be a part of this city.