AN OPEN LETTER FROM MAYOR KEITH A. JAMES
September 6, 2019
A week ago today, the City of West Palm Beach faced a significant threat in Hurricane Dorian. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that our City was spared Dorian’s wrath. Our thoughts and prayers must remain with our friends and neighbors in the Bahamas. Just 67-miles to our east, the Bahamas, unfortunately, endured the very worst of Dorian’s ‘Category 5’ fury.
It has been said that times of great adversity are a window into the human spirit. Dorian has showed us that the spirit of West Palm Beach has never been stronger or kinder.
West Palm Beach is a city of wonderful neighborhoods. We saw neighbors helping neighbors-- whether by putting up storm shutters, sharing storm prep supplies, or just ‘checking in’ on each other. I was asked by a reporter whether West Palm Beach was prepared should Hurricane Dorian strike our city. My answer was a resounding “yes”, because I knew that everybody would work together to survive the consequences of Dorian upon our City.
West Palm Beach has a group of passionate, dedicated employees. I want to recognize our emergency managers Asst. Fire Chief Brent Bloomfield and Asst. Police Chief Sarah Mooney. Chiefs Bloomfield and Mooney, along with about two dozen employees, lived and worked out of our Emergency Operations Center for 48+ hours to ensure residents were safe before, during and after the storm.
Employees answered residents’ calls on our 24/7 hotline. Others worked to ensure residents had clean, safe water to drink. Some employees ensured residents had a safe place in which to park their vehicles. If you see a City employee about, please thank them.
In the last week, I learned the true depth of West Palm Beach’s kindness, compassion and generosity. Ours is a very giving City. When our police and fire departments created a drop-off point for Bahamas relief donations, our community responded with food, water, supplies, pet food, baby diapers, and much, much more. The response has been overwhelming.
I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
Keith A. James, Mayor