Flowers presented to Purple Heart decorated island veterans. SC photo by Chuck Larsen Photography
Flowers presented to Purple Heart decorated island veterans. SC photo by Chuck Larsen Photography

The City of Sanibel recognized Purple-Heart decorated Island veterans at City Council’s meeting, March 5 at MacKenzie Hall. Before a sizable group of honorees and their loved ones, Mayor Kevin Ruane read a proclamation expressing the City’s “great admiration. . .for the men and women who selflessly served their country in the armed forces.”

The proclamation stipulates the Purple Heart to be “the oldest military decoration in present use. . .created by George Washington in 1782 as the ‘Badge of Military Merit.’ The Purple Heart. . .is awarded to any member of the United States Armed Services, who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States,” the proclamation read.

On behalf of the City of Sanibel, Mayor Ruane concluded the proclamation reading, by offering “sincere thanks to all our service personnel, particularly our veterans who are ‘Purple Heart’ recipients.” Adding a personal note, he continued, “Ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate your service and all that you have done.”

Speaking for the veterans, Dan Bernard, Senior Vice Commander, Chapter 696, Military Order Purple Heart, in turn presented a plaque to the City expressing “our grateful appreciation to the City of Sanibel for. . .recognizing our Purple-Heart veterans. Thank you to the citizens of Sanibel. It is a fantastic city,” he said.

Accepting the plaque, Ruane reiterated, “It’s you we are paying tribute to, but I am humbled to receive this plaque for the City.”

Goss Honored for Longtime Service to Council and Sanibel

City Councilmembers said their final good-byes to Councilman Chauncey Goss, whose service to Council ended at this meeting. First to speak, Mayor Ruane expressed his admiration for Goss’s “passion and determination [toward] the long-term goal of getting the water right. It’s been an honor to serve with you, but I am looking forward to working with you on water,” Ruane said.

Vice Mayor Mick Denham marked Goss’s “interesting journey over the next few years. You are a great acquisition to the [South Florida Water Management District] Board and a great support for Sanibel. We have lacked support in the past, but now this will change. Good luck and bon voyage,” Denham said.

Councilman Jason Maughan characterized Goss as “a good man, a good citizen and a good friend. We will miss you terribly, but this is a fantastic opportunity. You have made us proud. We can’t ask more of our friends than that,” Maughan said.

Concluding the encomiums for Goss, Councilwoman Holly Smith expressed her appreciation for “your friendship. I look forward to working with you in your next endeavor. We couldn’t be more proud of you, she said.

Goss responded with his thanks to Council, “and to God for giving us Sanibel. We are so lucky to have [the Island]. Thanks to the residents of the City who elected me four years ago and who gave me the opportunity to serve you. I hadn’t held elected office before. It’s been really fun,” he said.

You go where you can do the best good,” he added. “I will hopefully be doing some good for Sanibel, and I am leaving this seat in great hands.”

Goss concluded his remarks with praise for City staff. “People don’t pay attention to how good the City staff is. It is not luck. We have an incredibly good city manager, and an incredibly good staff. Our city manager leads by example. I will never be able to work with such a good group again. We are really fortunate to have the staff we do.”

Shifting subjects, Maughan made mention of Ruane’s upcoming run for County Commission. “[Kevin] is the right man for our City and our County Commission. What he can accomplish is for the good of all the citizens of this county. I encourage everyone to support him in this endeavor, going forward.”

Ruane proffered information about election rules that call for him to send in his resignation as Councilman and Mayor during the first week of June. The resignation becomes effective upon being sworn into the Commission seat, in mid-November 2020, he said. “It’s an opportunity to bring the County to the table from a budget and water point of view. With Chauncey going to the [Water Management] District, now we can have a reasonable conversation that has been lacking in the past,” he said.