By Mike Pidanick
The Niagara Town Board took some time to honor a local man on his way to serve the country. William Jasper III, a volunteer firefighter for the town, will soon be headed to the United States Air Force - and his hometown was on hand to say "thank you."
Jasper was honored during Tuesday's monthly board meeting at the Niagara Town Hall in an emotional ceremony that drew tears and applause.
"I want to wish William the best in all that he does," Town Councilman Marc Carpenter said. "We're all going to be thinking about you and sending our best wishes and prayers, as well. You'll make us proud, I'm sure."
Many board members and members of the public had similar sentiments.
"To William, thank you for what you're doing and I wish you all the best," said Town Councilman Robert Clark, also a long-time friend of the Jasper family.
The ceremony included a group of uniformed firefighters, as well as loved ones for Jasper. And it is a tradition the board plans on doing again in the future as locals sign up to defend the country.
The board took the time at Tuesday's meeting to ask the public to assist in honoring those that are ready to serve.
"This is something we're going to do all the time now," Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace said. "So if you know someone who's going, let us know. We won't always know unless someone tells us."
In other business during the 30-minute meeting, the board also unanimously voted to approve the initial portion of the town wide strategic plan. That includes core values, operating principles, a mission statement, vision statement and strategic achievement categories.
"On the surface, this seems like a pretty generic resolution," Town Councilman Danny Sklarski said. "In reality, this is an extremely important document. SPW had this idea to work diligently to put his strategic master plan together. It should be noted that basically most major businesses and some small businesses have a strategic master plan, regardless of how big they are. Colleges, high schools, even grade schools all have core values and plans that they put together. This plan here is a progressive, ongoing document. This is just the very beginning and like anything else in life, it will continue to grow."
The board also voted to approve moving next month's meeting to Thursday, Dec. 17 to accommodate the schedules of all six board members.