On Monday, October 17, Mayor George D. Alpogianis mailed a letter to all Niles residents with the message below:
To All Our Friends and Families:
How are you? Are you having a good day? How about the people around you?
I’m writing this letter to insert some much needed positivity into this world. I’ve noticed lately that it’s no longer “how are you” and “have a good day;” it’s “stay safe” and “be careful” and (on the highway message boards) “don’t engage with aggressive drivers.” What is happening in our world? I’m worried about us, especially our seniors and children, and I would like to put some good out there in our Village. As Mayor, I promised to build bridges, not walls.
In my travels, I met a man named Jean Paul, who was born in Ivory Coast, fled to France to escape terrible hardships, and eventually immigrated to the United States. Jean Paul was working in the lobby of the hotel I was staying at, and he couldn’t stop smiling, couldn’t contain his positivity towards mankind, and would not stop saying how much he loved America and that he was grateful to be here. While we were busy going about our business, Jean Paul asked if we needed anything, offered us a case of water, and poured out positivity in every possible way. When did some of us lose that attitude and lose our way? With every reason to be cynical towards the world, Jean Paul exemplified the right way to greet and help the people around him. Everyone nowadays keeps to themselves, indifferent to the people around them, or is tiptoeing on ice, afraid to say anything to each other for fear of offending someone. Why don’t we start working on that here in our Village, because it needs to start somewhere.
Why don’t we make this change by saying hello, or by smiling at someone. Take a moment and make small talk with fellow shoppers. Greet someone when you’re out walking your dog. At my restaurant, I tell my staff that even if someone isn’t sitting in their section, smile and say hello anyway, and make them feel like they’re at home. Every time I go shopping here in Niles (like at “the Jewels” lol), my wife asks me why it takes me over an hour to pick up a loaf of bread. I say it’s because I take the time to stop and say hello to residents. Why don’t we all interact with people?
With kids back in school, we’re approaching the most beautiful time of the year in this country, with all types of celebrations from Halloween through ringing in the New Year. Let’s not let this blessing of a season go by without making it a bit better for all. Let’s make the most of it, by sharing in these times together. The world may seem scary right now, and we might be divided in many ways, but I assure you that there is still far more that unites us than divides us, with the constant hope that things will be just fine.
The Village Board and I, alongside staff, will be embarking on more initiatives in the months ahead to instill more good into our community and to foster positive feelings, but we can’t do this alone. See what you can do to make our community a better place. Let this letter to all of us be the first step in returning to a brighter world. What we have here in Niles is special. Let’s stand united together to keep our community strong and move in a more positive direction.
Sincerely, Mayor George D. Alpogianis and the Board of Trustees
Village of Niles [Dated October 12, 2022]
View this Press Release as a PDF
Read the Original Letter