During the month of November we often take time to give thanks for those who are special to us. In Columbus, one of our more special assets is our people — citizens, city staff and volunteers all contributing in some way to make Columbus a better place.

On Nov. 6, the fire department held its annual Volunteer Fireman's Appreciation Dinner — an evening to say thanks to those who volunteer to serve in our fire department. It is these volunteers, along with our paid staff, who allow Columbus to provide the quality fire/EMT protection that we have. And because of the use of these volunteers we are able to provide these services at a much more reasonable cost than our peer cities.

Ten service awards were presented during the event — Jerod Cromwell and Derek Gassman, five years; Paul Pocwierz, 10 years; Mike Steiner, 15 years; Greg Hall, 20 years; Don Soulliere, 35 years; Les Cattau and Rod Seidel, 40 years; Dean Hefti, 45 years with 25 years as chief; and Bob Behlen, 50 years. Thank you all for your service.

On Nov. 15, I attended the Sertoma Service to Mankind Banquet. Every year Sertoma presents this Service to Mankind Award to a deserving individual in our community. This is someone who has devoted a substantial amount of time to humanitarian or civic activities for the betterment of mankind. This year's award winner was Wilma Arp. Wilma truly reflects the Sertoma values.

On Nov. 17, the city held its Municipal Employee Recognition Dinner. This was an opportunity to say thank you to those who selflessly serve the city. Those honored that evening included years of service, five years up to 50 years. Additional awards were given for volunteerism, valor, productivity, exemplary service and continuing education. We also recognized those who retired this past year. This was a special evening of saying thanks.

On Nov. 21, I attended the Columbus Area Business Hall of Fame Banquet. The 2017 inductees are Charles Wurdeman, Bob Loshbaugh and Marie Froemel. Also recognized were chamber award winners Lisa Kaslon (Ovation Award), Michael Hansen (Archway Award) and Doug Moore (Volunteer of the Year). Again, some very worthy honorees.

It is often said that you are only as good as the sum of your parts. In Columbus, our parts are our city staff and volunteering citizens. We have much to be thankful for.

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus. He can be reached at jim.bulkley@columbusne.us.

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