Vienna Mayor Jon Simmons recently received the following letter from an out-of-state couple that stayed in Vienna nearly ten years ago and wishes to share it with you.
November 21, 2013
Around Christmas time about 10 years ago a terrible ice and snow storm struck Illinois and specifically Highway 24. The conditions were dire that the bridges to Kentucky were closed as well as the highway.
At that time our family was en route to Huntsville to spend Christmas with my family. Even with an all wheel drive Explorer I was having a lot of trouble on the road. When we exited at Vienna we figured that we would get a room at the hotel and ride the storm out.
Unfortunately as we pulled into the parking lot which now had over a foot of snow in it, we realized that everyone had the same idea. I went to the front desk and found out that the hotel was full.
My daughter was three at the time and the thought of sleeping in the truck was not something I wanted to do. Luckily, we were told that the city had opened up the high school and the wayward travelers could sleep in the gym. We quickly went to the high school.
There were probably 200 people who slept in the gym that night. Much to our surprise and delight the local grocery store had furnished food as well as some of the residents making homemade cookies and other goodies. The gentleman who was in charge of all of this was a very kind and helpful man.
This huge act of compassion for those needing a place to rest has not been lost with us through these years. I am reminded of the kindness and generosity of the people of Vienna each time we pass by on route 24.
Although it has taken 10 years to express our thanks, I wanted to thank you, the city council, the fire and police, the school and all the residents of Vienna for their hospitality during the storm.
A heartfelt thanks and Merry Christmas to the city of Vienna.
Jack and Dyan Chong
Des Peres, Missouri