By Henrik Blix
Mason Times staff writer
MASON—In a bilingual ceremony Monday evening, the City Council reaffirmed Mason’s sister city status with Vitina, Kosovo.
In a statement spoken in Albanian and translated to English, Mayor Nexhmedin Arifi thanked the people of Mason and the City Council for supporting Vitina.
Arifi discussed the state of his city, the changes he has seen during his tenure as mayor and expressed wishes to continue Vitina’s relationship with Mason.
Arifi and Mayor Leon Clark then reaffirmed the sister city pledge in their respective languages, signed the pledge and exchanged gifts.
Arifi received the key to the city, as well as customized fleeces, made in Mason, for him and his translator.
Clark and Mayor Pro Tem Robin Naeyaert received plaques with a map of Kosovo showing the location of Vitina. The city council also received numerous small flags of Kosovo
“These guys just keep coming up with stuff, it’s amazing,” said Clark. “They’re such a giving people. It’s overwhelming.”
Naeyaert said the ceremony was a touching moment and hearing directly from Arifi how Mason has helped his city illustrated how meaningful the sister city relationship is. She said it was especially significant when Arifi discussed the impact of the fire truck Mason donated to Vitina last year.
“People don’t comprehend really what it meant to the city of Vitina to receive the fire truck,” Naeyaert said. “It’s a really cool thing that not every city our size gets to do.”.
Arifi said the people of Vitina have been pleased with the relationship with Mason. He said people in Kosovo, especially Vitina, have a special respect for the United States.
“We had a moral obligation, a human obligation, to visit the city of Mason,” Arifi said.
Arifi said he plans to continue communicating with Mason when he returns to Kosovo.
Clark said there has been discussion of future trips and equipment donations, specifically farming and fire equipment, although nothing has been officially planned.