May Publisher’s Letter

I usually start my monthly newsletter just by introducing myself, Peter Gary, publisher of the Boca Voice. But this month is different. So are all of us. And I want to start May on a positive note. We all deserve that as we start to turn the corner on this crisis.

People who know me know I’m tough and a realist. One of the first questions I was asked at boot camp in the United States Marine Corps actually prepared me for most anything I would do in my Marine Corps career, as well every job and every company I opened afterward.

I bring this up because it rings so true today. That question seems so simple, yet so profound: “What is the worth of a man?”

Let’s not in the days of the me-to movement think I’m leaving out anyone. This was a long time ago and boot camp was not unisex. So, for the purpose of this letter, it applies to all.

As the drill instructor went around and asked us all our answers, and they varied, he finally gave us the answer to “what the worth of a man?” The answer was: “What it takes to stop him.”

What I’ve witnessed in this pandemic has inspired me. Our nation, our state and our city have come together in this fight to help each other. For the most part, they have put petty differences behind and helped each other. This is what makes our community so unique.

We will get through this, and when we do, we will not only be in a better position, we will have better processes and find more innovation. As good habits are born in bad times. This is what is at the heart of America and Boca Raton.

Boca Raton has stepped up big time. I’ve seen it everywhere I go. Our own John Tolbert hosted an optimistic hospitality summit at the Boca Raton Resort & Club and was chosen for one of the governor’s re-open Florida task forces.

Whatever people needed was provided by companies and generous individuals. Hospitality Helping Hands turned Mizner Park in front of The Dubliner and Kapow into a free food distribution site. Office Depot based in Boca and others kicked in digital devices for public school students without them so they could learn online.

Hero signs appeared in front of our hospitals. Everyone from the Boca Raton Garden Club to FAU researchers and even little children churned out face masks and protective gear for our frontline workers.

We heard a lot more thank yous, for restaurant takeout crew to the guys manning our trash trucks. Nonprofits found a way to do fundraising online, from Habitat for Humanity to Boca Helping Hands. Boca Chamber just asked city council to set $500,000 aside for an emergency relief fund to help small businesses get back on their feet.

Nobody expects everything to magically get back to normal and most of these efforts will have to be ongoing. Our hearts go out to people who lost loved ones. We’ll still be protective of the most vulnerable among us.

We want coronavirus to be on the sooner-than-later horizon, so no one gets sick or has to treat this horrendous illness.

Please join me in being hopeful in May. And pass it on.

Peter Gary


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