Last week’s Board of Health meeting was the final meeting after over a decade of service for one of its members.
Elizabeth (Libby) Walendziewicz made the decision not to run in this year’s upcoming Town Election to stay in the seat she’s had for eleven years. She was first appointed to the board in 2010 and was then elected to it a year later in 2011.
“In 2010 with an unexpected board resignation we needed to fill an important vacancy,” Board Chair Dr. Ed Weiner said. “We not only filled that vacancy but we filled it with a Professor of Nursing with a Master’s of Science. For more than 10 years we have had, the town of Burlington has had, someone with the unique experience and training to serve on this Board of Health. Libby Walendziewicz has given of herself to serve this board with grace, commitment and professionalism. On behalf of the town all I can say is ’thank you.’”
Dr. Weiner also told Walendziewicz she should be proud of all she accomplished on the board.
“When you look around Burlington and you see all the projects you’ve reviewed, provided input to and reviewed, all of the health programs you put your heart into, and all the work that you did for over a decade, you should be proud, as we are proud, that you made a difference.”
Other members also praised Walendziewicz’s work during her time on the board.
Dr. Wayne Saltsman pointed out that for the past 10 years the board has been using the annual flu vaccine clinic as training for vaccine administrators to ensure the board and the Medical Reserve Corps would be ready in case of an emergency. That effort, he said, was Walendziewicz’s.
“Our community should know that their wellness over the last 10 years was supported by the processes Libby carried out,” he said.
Board Vice-Chair David McSweeney said when he first met Walendziewicz they were running against each as two of three candidates for two open seats. He said while standing with signs at the poles they began speaking and had what he described as a “genuinely respective and pleasant conversation” and that set the tone for when they were both elected.
“That carried over to your work on the board and I appreciated it,” he said. “Your graciousness and your professionalism are things you brought to every meeting. I will miss you from both a professional and personal standpoint. You’ve been a great board member and I am sorry to see you go. I wish you the best luck.”
Member Maribeth Welch said Walendziewicz was also welcoming and would take time to help other board members.
“From the minute I first started in my first meeting you welcomed me and you continued to always make me feel welcomed,” she said. “You’re going to be missed and I hope your next adventure is a lot of fun.”
Health Director Susan Lumenello also had praise for Walendziewicz’s work on the board.
“You really have made a huge difference here for everything that goes on with the Board of Health and the staff,” she said. “Over the years you’ve always stepped in when we needed you, when we needed help with nursing programs. It’s just so appreciated, everything you’ve done for the town and for everyone here.”
Finally, for her part, a visibly emotional Walendziewicz said she enjoyed her time on the board and had learned a lot in the past 10 years.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to do what I’ve done and be part of this board and I guess I’m going to miss it a little bit,” she said, both smiling and tearing up. “But life goes on, you make changes and do what you need to do. So it is bittersweet that I say ‘bye’. Thank you all again.”