WILMINGTON, MA — At her final Board of Selectmen meeting earlier this month, departing Selectwoman Judy O’Connell was honored by her colleagues.
“It’s really been quite and honor and privilege to have worked with you,” said Town Manager Jeff Hull. “Having worked with you for several years, I truly appreciate the professionalism that you’ve shown to me.” Hull praised O’Connell’s work as a Selectwoman and Chair of the Yentile Farm Development Committee.
“Your level of commitment, your focus, your intensity, and [your ability to] never letting a distraction keep you from the business of the day have served as a model to me,” said Selectman Mike Champoux. “You’re a diplomatic person. You exhibit leadership… You’re most assuredly leaving this board as a friend.”
“I really think you’re a wonderful person,” said Selectman Mike McCoy. “We’ve had a lot more good moments than tough moments…. Outside of [meetings], you’ve always treated me with respect. You were kind to me, my wife, and my son. You would always acknowledge me at [town events]…. You’ve really done a good job. You’re a kind person.”
O’Connell joked that McCoy would miss her the most. McCoy offered to dance with O’Connell, in reference to a joke O’Connell made at the Wilmington Sons of Italy Anniversary Dinner.
“I may be dating myself, but I was Judy’s freshman softball coach. She was so good, the problem is, she skipped freshmen level and went straight to varsity,” recalled Selectman Kevin Caira. “It’s been a great pleasure to serve as her Vice Chair on the Yentile Farm Committee. Without her leadership, the success of that project would not be what it is today… She has put in an amazing amount of work and we’re surely going to miss her.”
“You’ve been a constant professional.. You’re the definition of a volunteer. People like you are the reason why Wilmington is such a great place,” said Selectman Greg Bendel. “I was lucky enough to grew up [in your neighborhood]. From the time I was little, when I heard the name Judy O’Connell, I just knew good things were going to happen.”
“I want to acknowledge how hard you have worked over the past six years as a member of the board. Elected officials come and go, but your work ethic and level of commitment is unmatched,” said former Selectman Mike Newhouse in a statement read by Hull. “Thank you for your truly exemplary service.”
“When I worked with you on this board, you were nothing but professional, respectful, and class,” added former Selectman Lou Cimaglia. “The two years you served as chair of this board were very trying times for different reasons. The way you handled yourself and represented this board was second to none… You are the epitome of a Wilmington resident.”
Hull and Selectmen then presented O’Connell with a plaque, complete with a gavel, in recognition of her service to the board (2011-2017), including two years as chairwoman.
O’Connell then gave some farewell remarks.
“You don’t get here by accident. You have a tremendous amount of help from the people you know and come in contact with,” said O’Connell, who thanked her current colleagues, plus former Selectmen Newhouse and Cimaglia.
“It’s been a real honor to work with such qualified professionals. The Town of Wilmington is very fortunate to have the employees that we do,” continued O’Connell, who thanked Town Manager Jeff Hull, former Town Manager Michael Caira, Assistant Town Manager Dee Casey, and current and past town department heads.
“I’ve never seen someone so in love with their job and committed to the town of Wilmington and making sure it’s moving in the right direction,” said O’Connell of the Town Manager’s Administrative Assistant Beverly Dalton. O’Connell also thanked the rest of the Manager’s administrative team, including Wendy Martiniello and Jackie LaVerde.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the residents of Wilmington voting me into office. I didn’t take this seat for granted, not for one single day,” said O’Connell. “I served to pay it forward. I was fortunate enough to have been born and raised in this town. I went through the school system, K-12. And I came back here with my family to live.”
O’Connell thanked her family and close friends for their support. She singled out her parents, her grandmother, her sister Shelley, her brother-in-law Dave, her nephew Colin, and her niece Maddie.
“Serving has been a profound experience for me. I’ve learned so much as a person and about myself,” continued O’Connell. “It’s been a great experience. I don’t intend on going anywhere. I’ll volunteer in anyway that I can. I don’t believe my political career is over. You will see me at some point in the future.”
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