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A message from your government about the most topical and relevant information currently circulating throughout the community.
Posted on December 5, 2023 at 11:13 AM by Bryan Obenchain
My father lost his battle with Alzheimer’s on Dec. 27, 2019. Since then, every holiday season has been bittersweet. While I know in my heart my dad has his memory back and he is with his family and friends solving all of the world's problems, there is still an emptiness in missing his words of wisdom and guidance.
Why do I bring this up? Why during a Christmas season full of celebrating a birth am I speaking of the loss of a loved one? It comes down to family.
Cherish every single day. I recently attended the funeral for a wonderful friend; a father, a son, and a brother who was younger than me. The strength his children showed during the service struck me deeply. It was an opportunity for me to lean back on the memories I have with their father, and the memories I have with my own children.
It's funny - I am sitting in the mayor's office at City Hall writing this letter, thinking of my dad, my friend, and all the memories of both of those men. And I am smiling.
I read a passage at the funeral that basically stated, “You can mourn the loss or celebrate the life.” I've got so many great memories of my father, and many of those are from the Christmas season: Memories of six kids, 10 pounds of D-cell batteries, assembly instructions, and a pile of shoes at the front door.
My dad means the world to me, and I choose to celebrate the life he lived. As Minot continues to grow, it's still small enough that I frequently run into my dad's friends. I’ve known some of them for more than 50 years, and some I am just meeting for the first time. I know they are friends because they call my dad “Billy.” Some even go so far to say “Billy was the best damn crane operator in Minot.” I don't know about that, but I do know is he was the best damn father I could ever ask for.
As we inch closer to Christmas every day, my messages to you are this:
I am choosing to celebrate the journey I am on. The holiday season is upon us, even if it doesn’t look like it outside. Let’s all remember the real reason behind the Christmas season. Celebrate the joys and blessings in your lives. Celebrate the memories of your family members who have passed on and those who are still here.
Above all, give a smile and a hug to someone this Christmas season.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on November 21, 2023 at 9:04 AM by Bryan Obenchain
I love Minot, and I am especially grateful for the privilege of serving as your mayor. As I get ready to spend the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with my friends and family, I have taken time to sit back and reflect on what I am thankful for this season.
First and foremost, I am truly thankful for my family. I am fortunate to be able to spend time and visit with my mother, my children, and my partner. In their own way, each and every one of them grounds me, and they often bring me back down to earth and remind me of life’s priorities.
I am thankful for our City of Minot employees. They want what we all want: A thriving community that is safe, growing, and prosperous. City employees are our friends, our neighbors, and our family members. They have willingly signed up for a life of public service, knowing that for some of them, that means working holidays, weekends, and at all hours of the night when necessary. Our employees are the backbone of the City of Minot as an organization.
I am thankful for the members of our City Council. The vision, the respect, and the hours they put into serving their community is commendable and their hard work and diligence makes my job as mayor so much easier.
I am thankful for the numerous volunteers who call Minot home, including those who help local churches, schools, athletic programs, organizations, and community events. We simply would not be the Magic City without volunteers.
I am thankful for the teachers at every level of our educational organizations. Their role as educators has changed dramatically over the years. Their responsibilities and the expectations of their profession continue to evolve, and their impact does not end when their students leave the building for the day. Our teachers carry so much of our children's lives on their shoulders, and you often see that reflected on their faces when you visit a classroom. Please know that as a community, we support you and your efforts to help shape and guide our future generations.
I am thankful for our first responders, including City employees, Ward County employees, and members of our local police departments, fire departments, and ambulance crews. As we often say, you are the ones heading towards danger as other are fleeing from it. Your continued courage and compassion keep our city safe.
I am thankful for our active duty military and our veterans. Your continued service and past service not only keeps us free, but also spreads the message of freedom throughout the world. Your work too often gets taken for granted, but I will continue to beat the drum of your service, and I pledge to tell your story to everyone I see. Your responsibility goes beyond what many of us can even comprehend. I thank you, and I salute you.
My challenge to everyone reading this column: Pick up the tradition before your Thanksgiving meal of telling your family and your friends what you are thankful for this year. Give your family members a hug, reach out to an airman or a first responder, or simply say thank you to someone who needs to hear it. I encourage you to share your gratitude, and to share the many blessings that we enjoy.
Most of all, as mayor of Minot, I am thankful for you, the residents of our great community. You are all part of what makes Minot such a wonderful place to live. The generations of Minot residents who came before us worked tirelessly to make our community a great place to live and raise a family. Now, it’s our responsibility to continue that commitment to excellence for the next generations. I am confident we will all rise to the occasion.
Posted on November 9, 2023 at 9:46 AM by Bryan Obenchain
Officially, we’ll celebrate Veterans Day this year on Saturday, Nov. 11. But in reality, our community should celebrate our veterans every day of the year.
Minot is a proud military town, and we’re thankful for our relationship with the men and women of Minot Air Force Base. Their presence here for the past decades has made us a better community. The influx of men and women from around the country has changed the very fabric of our city by bringing new traditions, new ways of thinking, and outside perspectives to our community. We embrace our local military personnel; they are our friends, our family members, and our neighbors. We welcome them here as a place to raise their families and further their careers. We are glad they are here.
As proof of the amazing connection between Minot and Minot Air Force Base, this week our community was awarded the Barksdale Trophy, which is given to the community that goes above and beyond to support airmen and their families at an Air Force Global Strike Command wing. Minot also won the honor in 2019.
Some of the criteria for the Barksdale Trophy include the existence of community based programs that positively impact the quality of life for airmen and their families, community investment in infrastructure designed to benefit airmen, officers, and families associated with the base, and overall community hospitality, kindness, and acceptance of airmen, officers, and their families.
The first Barksdale Trophy was awarded in 2017; the winning community is allowed to showcase the trophy for two years. The trophy has been awarded four times – Minot has won it twice.
Our strong connection to Minot AFB is evident in the community support exhibited toward programs and events that benefit Air Force personnel. It’s also visible through the actions of the airmen who volunteer with organizations and events in our area.
As an example, our residents stepped up this year to raise funds for the Home for the Holidays program, which helps send our young airmen home to visit their families during the holiday season. With help from Magic City Beverage, we held a raffle for a magnificent Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The community response was overwhelming, raising thousands of dollars to help our friends at Minot AFB. This amazing program has already booked more than 100 flights home for airmen this holiday season.
On the flip side, we routinely see airmen volunteering at community events, from large-scale events like Norsk Hostfest to the annual clean-up days organized by the Minot Area Chamber EDC. Their presence is recognized and appreciated, and helps cement the relationship between the Air Force facility and the community of Minot.
Let’s make it a priority this year, and every year, to recognize, thank, and appreciate every veteran we meet. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture that draws attention. On the contrary; a small, meaningful gesture can carry so much more weight. Maybe buy someone’s coffee or meal. Or, a simple “thank you,” a handshake, or a “thank you for your service” will do quite nicely, too.
I hope everyone takes the opportunity to attend a Veterans Day ceremony this year. We must constantly remind ourselves that it’s more than a day off work for some people. Veterans Day matters, and we must not forget the real reason Veterans Day exists: To honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
To all retired and active military members, I simply want to say thank you for your service to our great nation and our community. You are appreciated, not only for what you do every day, but for who you are.