Traditional Values and Progressive Thinking – September 28, 2016

Mayor Gary Graham

Mayor Gary Graham

Farewell to Alderman Mike Bennett

At the September 19th City Council Meeting, the O’Fallon City Council lost a familiar face, albeit to a happy farewell and a standing ovation. Ward Five Alderman Mike Bennett resigned his position on the O’Fallon City Council after 7,813 days of serving the residents of O’Fallon. Mike will soon be getting married and starting a new chapter in his life, we all wish him the best.

Alderman Bennett will be missed on the City Council. His knowledge, experience, leadership, and vision as Alderman, and Chair of the Finance Committee, helped shape O’Fallon in to the great community that it is today.

During his farewell speech (, Mike reflected on his 21 years as Alderman. One of the most powerful comments he made has stuck with me since, “What has happened in O’Fallon over the last 20 years is nothing short of amazing.”

Alderman Bennett is correct, what has happened over the past 20 years in O’Fallon is nothing short of Amazing. I may be biased, but I know that O’Fallon has become the best community around.

This year, the City of O’Fallon conducted the National Citizen Survey and the results were phenomenal. How residents rate their overall quality of life is an indicator of the overall health of a community. In the case of O’Fallon, 95% of residents rate this community as an excellent or good place to live.

O’Fallon is great, but the job is not yet done. We know that it can still be better, and the O’Fallon City Council and I have a lot of work yet to do!

During his farewell address, Alderman Bennett praised the residents of O’Fallon, City Staff, and O’Fallon’s elected officials.

Mike was very kind to me in his farewell speech. But, I must remind everyone that a Mayor is only as good as the City Council. O’Fallon has been successful, in small part, because we have been fortunate enough to have a City Council that is passionate, cares deeply about the City and O’Fallon’s residents, and can think “big picture” about O’Fallon’s future.

September is National Preparedness Month

Sponsored by FEMA, National Preparedness Month aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies.

National Preparedness Month is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters, both large scale and small local events. We know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities like O’Fallon. Some disasters, like tornado outbreaks, floods, even water main breaks and power outages can impact communities for days at a time.

The most important step you can take in helping your local police, fire and EMS is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care for at least a short period of time following an incident; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community can recover.

Take action

Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or other local services.

  • Prepare a disaster supply kit with at least three days of food and water.
  • Create a Family Emergency Plan, so that your family knows how to communicate during and emergency.
  • Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed throughout a disaster.

Be an Example

Be a positive influence on your community by sharing your preparedness story. Let your friends and family know that you’re prepared for an emergency – and that they should be prepared too. Research has shown that many people will not prepare until they see others doing so.

  • Share your preparedness story on Facebook so that friends and family will know that you are prepared for a disaster.
  • Encourage others to be prepared, and if needed, provide assistance or advice on how to become prepared.
  • Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter.

You never know when an emergency might occur. These simple steps will help you be prepared for the worst.

FEMA’s website provides detailed information on what may be most important to you and your family in the event of a disaster. You can find specific information tailored to specific needs such as people with disabilities, seniors, assisting children, business readiness, and even information for your pets.

The strong working relationship between City Hall and the residents we serve is yet another example of why O’Fallon is such a great community in which to live.