As we head into this New Year so many issues are foremost in our minds; Politics, (both at home and at state and government levels), Affordable Health Care, the water-shed, fire prevention, is there more snow in the forecast…etc. And normally this is where I would reminisce about all the local happenings and look back at the year 2013. But today I have something different on my heart. This Holiday season I have been reminded many times over what should be the happiest time of the year is often the hardest time for many people struggling to cope with heartbreak, loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, or distance from family. This distance can be simply geographical, due to military deployment, or estrangement caused by disagreements, divorcee or alcohol and drug addictions. I think of the single parent struggling to make ends meet, the elderly, and the lonely. Hardships are very real everywhere around us. My New Year’s wish for this 2014 would be that we slow down and take the time to pay attention to those less fortunate than ourselves. People who may be “fine” on the outside but are slowly dying on the inside. I’m reminded of the “Pay it Forward” actions. This should become our mantra in the Moreno Valley. Do something for someone who can never repay you. Be spontaneous in your generosity. Maybe it’s only a smile, a cup of coffee, a touch, a hug, a ride, a few dollars, or a listening ear. You never know the difference you can make in that person’s day or life unless you reach out and extend a simple kindness. I can promise you one thing, you will be the benefactor! Have a great and blessed New Year!