Mayor Day checks in from Africa for city address

As part of the State of the City address presented by Salisbury City Administrator Julia Glanz, viewers had the rare chance to see and hear Mayor Jake Day, who is overseas on deployment with the U.S. Army since June.

Salisbury residents got the rare chance to see and hear Mayor Jake Day — who has been on an overseas deployment with the U.S. Army since June — when he made an appearance during the annual State of the City address last week.

“Hello, my beautiful little city,” Day said in a video that preceded the presentation that was streamed on Facebook, noting that life 7,231 miles away from Salisbury in the Horn of Africa with its 118-plus degree heat is different and challenging.

“Nothing here resembles home,” he said. “I miss Salisbury, I miss Maryland, I miss America.”

Mostly, Day said, he misses his “sweet, darling little girls,” and he thanked everyone who has offered support to his wife and two young daughters during his absence.

Day also gave a shoutout to several Salisbury restaurants he frequented while at home.

“I miss some Mojo’s fries and some Roadie’s fries, I miss ice cream at Angello’s, the scrapple, egg and cheese from Johnny’s, I miss a Mogan’s spicy chicken sandwich, I miss Dayton’s omelets, I miss Fratelli’s crab cakes, Mayabella’s pizza,” he said.

“OK, so I really miss food and I really miss my job.”

Day, a Captain with the Maryland Army National Guard, will be away for up to 10 months as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He is one of three U.S. mayors deployed to combat zones during their terms in office. Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 while in office. North Ogden, Utah, Mayor Brent Taylor was killed in 2018 while serving in Afghanistan.

In Africa, Day is working as an information operations officer with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in a 12-country region.

He is expected to spend time in Somalia and Djibouti with a focus on fighting terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab.

City Council President Jack Heath also gave remarks prior to the State of the City report which was delivered by City Administrator Julia Glanz in Day’s absence.

“This has been the strangest of years,” Heath said.

In addition to the mayor’s deployment, the city, like the rest of the country has been dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Yet through it all, we haven’t skipped a beat,” he said.

The coronavirus has forced some city employees to work remotely, and City Council meetings and work sessions are held via Zoom.

The latter has resulted in more public participation than live meetings held in the council chambers, he said.

The city was able to accomplish a lot during the past year, including a budget with no increase in the tax rate, financial assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic, a new water line to the Salisbury-Wicomico Regional Airport, rental eviction protection during the pandemic, sewer line extension on Mount Hermon Road and the creation of a Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.

“City business has been uninterrupted,” Heath said.

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