New councilman Michael Sherry wishes community happy New Year

(Orchard Park Sun, January 2014)

As one year comes to an end and a new one begins, most of us spend at least a little time pondering the drift of our lives over the course of the previous twelve months, hopefully being able to identify a number of things for which we are thankful, even as we try to anticipate what the rush of time will bring to us in the next twelve. And because we want ourselves and others to be and experience those things that make for happiness, we wish one-another a “happy” new year. It is a wish and a prayer succinctly captured in the word, shalom, well-being. How appropriate, therefore, that especially at this time of the year we make resolutions and set goals which, we hope, will increase the happiness, that is, the quality of our lives and/or that of others.

The course of 2013 was mostly a happy one for my wife and I. Our daughter’s first child, our first grandchild, Eliana, whose big eyes and beaming smile flood my heart with joy, was born this past July. And even as I write this piece on New Year’s Eve day, my daughter-in-law is in labor. So my wife and I anticipate even more happiness in the wake of another granddaughter, Annabel, as 2014 comes rushing in. Also in 2013 I dared to test the political waters and was swept onto the Orchard Park Town Board – a completely unanticipated privilege and honor at this same time last year. From the moment of first stepping in my awareness of and thankfulness for all of the volunteers and employees who attend to the needs and desires of our community only continues to rise.

So here I am, and here we are – the community that is Orchard Park – at the beginning of a new year, a time for making resolutions and setting some goals which we hope will affect positive change in our individual and collective lives. Even for those who do not make New Year’s resolutions, the currents of change must and will persist. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed: “No man ever steps into the same river twice; for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” In Heraclitus’ river, as in New Year’s resolutions and goals, continuity and change coincide.

On January 1 of this year change was introduced to the Orchard Park Town Board as two out of its three members were sworn in for the first time. In continuity with our community’s long tradition of exceptional government service, this Board is resolute in its determination to pursue those means – old and new –through which the outstanding quality of life that we enjoy is maintained and even improved. In order to do so “we must think anew, and act anew,” to quote Abraham Lincoln. With due diligence and prudence we have already begun to set some goals which we expect will affect the kinds of change that will envelop Orchard Park in yet another Happy New Year.