Anticipation was high for this year’s State of the City Address, the last by Mayor George Pradel before stepping down after 20 years on the job.
Introducing the Mayor was a very special person who’s been by his side through his entire career, his wife.
“The Bible states in Mark:10, ‘Jesus came to serve and not be served’ my husband has patterned his life after this verse, he has always stepped up to the plate to serve others,” said Pat Pradel, Mayor Pradel’s wife. “Over these past 55 years, I have been proud of him, supported him and loved him.”
Donning his usual top hat, Mayor Pradel expressed how the last 20 years have been more than just a job for him.
“I hope it has been clear that during my time in office, I have held the position of office in my way,” said Mayor Pradel. “I knew that when I became Mayor that it would be my life, my heart and my soul. It would not be my part time job but rather my full time joy.”
And those days as Mayor have been filled with both highs and lows, from the addition of a new library and high school, to seeing the city through two major floods. But this final year has seemed to be a triumph on all fronts, with lower unemployment numbers, growth and development in businesses, and a spot on money magazines list of “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” None of it, Pradel says, would have been possible without the support of the people of Naperville.
“When I leave you in may, I leave you with this assurance that all the tools are in place for this community’s continued success,” said Mayor Pradel. “My legacy is not my own, it is the collective sum of our time spent together. My way, it was always our way. It was realizing that together it was better than anything we could accomplish alone. It was realizing that our love for Naperville that unites us was far stronger than anything that divides us.”
The impact felt from Pradel’s leadership didn’t stop at the borders of Naperville. Representatives from the Illinois House and Senate awarded the Mayor with special honors at the end of the address.
“He has such a way with people and everyone is sad to see him go,” said Jay Sridhar, attendee of the State of the City Address.
“He was a great asset to the city, a great foot forward, we’ll miss him,” said Stephen Brockman, attendee of the State of the City Address.
“God bless you all, God bless Naperville, God bless the USA,” said Mayor Pradel.
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