I can't remember a time when my life didn't include this city.
My mother was raised here.
I spent me entire childhood visiting my grandmother at her house in Eagle Pointe on a weekly basis.
I've swam in the lake as a kid too many times to recall. I've ice skated, ice fished, played hockey, boated on the lake, and even worked for Parks & Rec cutting grass in the summer during college many years ago.
And if that wasn't enough, my wife and I call St. Clair Shores home now ourselves.
Wednesday morning I was reminded by dozens of fellow St. Clair Shorians just why this town will always be a part of my life.
You see for the past 33 years St. Clair Shores residents and businesses, along a few folks from surrounding communities as well, have come together to host the 33rd Annual Handicapped Fishing Derby.
More than 700 special needs kids and adults were there to enjoy a boat ride and fishing at the Derby.
After their excursion on the lake, these mentally and physically challenged kids and adults were then treated to lunch where they shared their fish tales with others and smiled from ear-to-ear with each thrilling catch.
And all of this because residents and businesses in this community volunteered their time, talents and resources.
More than 200 people helped hand out lunches, sign people in, distribute life vests and fishing poles, and make sure the boats were filled and emptied safely.
The Macomb County Sheriff's Office Marine Division, as well as members of our own St. Clair Shores Fire Department, hoisted kids and adults in and out of boats to make certain everyone was able to get out on the water.
This year, more than 60 boat owners guided their vessels into the docks at Island Harbor and loaded up as many kids as they could hold - every captain greeting every kid with a smile - only to return an hour or so later to repeat the process with a new group of special needs kids.
You see, when so much of the headlines and conversations around town are focused on declining property values, budget constraints, tough economic conditions and foreclosure rates in the city, it's easy to lose sight of the things that can't be measured with graphs or charts or included in a report or budget.
And although these issues are concerning and very real - they are not how you define St. Clair Shores.
Instead, that can be done in one simple word - Heart.
This city and its residents have an enormous capacity for compassion and caring and events such as Wednesday morning's fishing derby are perfect examples of this unique city-wide trait.
I take such pride in seeing this in action, and hope al of you do too.
So neighbors, friends, fellow St. Clair Shorains - I am so proud to walk among you and honored to share this wonderful town with each of you.