Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 17, 2017
The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) began its May 16, 2017 Regular Meeting with four proclamations.
Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15, 2017; National Police Week May 15, 2017
Fernandina Beach Police Chief James T. Hurley accepted a Proclamation from the city calling upon Florida police agencies and municipalities to observe Monday, May 15, 2017 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week of May 15, 2017 as National Police Week in accordance with national designations.
In presenting the Proclamation, Mayor Lentz reminded citizens of sacrifices made by local law enforcement in Nassau County: Police Chief James “Frank” Surrency was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1930 while serving the citizens of Fernandina; Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Robinson (1891), Chief Deputy Everett Johns (1905), and Deputy Jeremiah Mattox (1954) were all shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to violent calls for service on Amelia Island; and most recently, Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Oliver, who lost his life in the line of duty on November 22, 2016.
Lentz reminded everyone. “It is important that all Florida citizens know and understand the unique challenges and responsibilities of their police department, and that members of our police department fully recognize their duty to serve the people by protecting life and property, by standing up against violence and disorder, and by shielding the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression or intimidation.”
Chief Hurley thanked the FBCC and acknowledged the fine work of the city’s officers and volunteers in keeping citizens protected.
Memorial Day – May 29, 2017
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1088 Nassau County Member Mr. John Crow accepted the Proclamation.
Since 1868, on the last Monday of May, Americans across these United States have come together to honor the American military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation in all of our wars. Mayor Lentz reminded the audience, “these brave men and women are part of an unbroken chain who have served our country with honor and distinction for more than 200 years. On Memorial Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.”
Mayor Lentz called upon Fernandina Beach citizens to participate in the scheduled Military Veterans Memorial Day Observance presented by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1088, Nassau County, here in Fernandina Beach on May 29, 2017 and, especially, to pause for a personal moment of silence in honor of those who have died in service to our great Nation.
Crow informed the FBCC and audience members that this year’s Memorial Day Observance would take place on May 29 at the Veterans Memorial at the foot of Centre Street. The program will begin with music at 10:30 a.m., followed by a program beginning at 11:00 a.m. and a wreath laying at noon.
National Safe Boating Week – May 20-26, 2017
America’s waterways are conduits to creating lasting memories, to discovering worlds of adventure, and to generating economic opportunity. “National Safe Boating Week” is an occasion to bring special attention to a national pastime and to remind boaters, and their loved ones, to stay safe and responsible while exploring our nation’s lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.
In reading the Proclamation, Mayor Lentz stressed the importance of safety precautions. Before embarking on any boating journey, Americans should prepare for potential hazards by remembering to check the forecast, file a float plan, perform a vessel safety check, and confirm the vessel has essential safety equipment, including life jackets, fire extinguishers and weather radios. Boaters should also be ready for sudden weather changes that can affect a voyage — thunderstorms, wind shifts and fog can often occur without warning. She said, “Always wearing a life jacket, and reframing from drinking while boating to help ensure a great day out on the water does not end in tragedy.”
Coast Guard Commander Harry Tipper accepted the Proclamation from Mayor Lentz. In thanking the Commission he remarked that the local area is one of the safest boating areas in the state.
Retirement of Kenneth Forehand
Mayor Robin Lentz recognized Kenneth Forehand for more than 32 years of service upon his retirement from the city this past April. Forehand began his career with the City of Fernandina Beach in the Wastewater Department as a Temporary Laborer on September10, 1984. Through decades of long, hot summers and cold winters, Mr. Forehand worked his way up to full time Laborer I, Operator I and Operator II before becoming a Foreman in the Wastewater Department in 1996.
Mayor Lentz praised Forehand for his dedication and willingness to go “above and beyond to ensure the tasks at hand were completed with meticulous attention to detail.” She expressed the city’s gratitude for his “professional, loyal and selfless efforts” during his tenure in the Utilities Wastewater Department and indicated that the proclamation would be a permanent matter of record in the proceedings of the City Commission as a testimonial to his service.
In accepting the Proclamation, Forehand thanked the city, but singled out the efforts of Utilities Department Director John Mandrick for his work to redesign and upgrade the city’s lift stations. Forehand indicated that it was not always easy to convince commissioners to spend the money to modernize the city’s infrastructure, but he thanked all those who supported Mandrick and city managers in persevering to get the job done.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.