As we gather together to celebrate this festive holiday season, I want to take the opportunity to wish all Westporters peace and happiness now and in the coming year.

I realize that this past year proved a whirlwind for many. From our political climate nationwide, to local concerns and issues, we experienced a turmoil not seen in the recent past. I am confident, however, that the peace and harmony of the holiday season, and the strength provided by the refreshing opportunity of a New Year, will be the catalyst for renewed respect, unity and civil discourse in Westport.

We recognize that we are truly blessed to live in a town where passionate people with unique ideas and world views share, encourage, and express their creative spirit with those around them. We are also fortunate to have so many volunteers and devoted professionals who selflessly give their time, energy and expertise to benefit those less fortunate than themselves. They are the true heroes in our community, and I extend my deepest appreciation to them for their year-round commitment.

Anne Frank profoundly stated: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Please consider taking a moment now to reflect on that innocent and heartfelt sentiment expressed by a courageous young woman. This is an opportunity to take her words to heart. Let us look inward and discover how we personally may affect small but significant change and improvement in our homes, our neighborhoods, our community, and beyond.

I wish everyone in Westport a wonderful Holiday Season and a very happy 2017.

Jim Marpe is Westport’s First Selectman.