First Selectman’s Update

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Melissa Mack

I struggled this month. What is the right topic and tone during this “new normal” with worry high and residents tackling work, home, family, financial and health issues all at once?

So here it is… This is going to be tough, but we will get through it.  I’ve been through similar before – when life seemingly stopped spinning on its axis and my worries outnumbered my hopes – and my family survived.  As I’ve shared before, but it bears repeating, three weeks after the joyful birth of my son, my two-year old daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  In the blink of an eye, our happy life was completely upended.  I remember in the midst of making enormously difficult life or death decisions, my own disbelief that we would be unable to attend Thanksgiving!  So I think about that time now, and I know exactly how you are feeling.  How can it be, that in order to keep loved ones safe, long-planned trips, celebrations, daily life must be put on hold or cancelled?  To my “senior” friends especially – senior citizens, high school and college seniors – I acknowledge how deeply unfair this is.  But this I can promise – as one who remembers well the heavy weight of worry – this too shall pass.  What will see us through is the kindness of friends and strangers alike, an inner strength we may never have known existed, and a laser-like focus on what’s most important.  My beautiful daughter is now 14 – a happy, stubborn, feisty and fiercely independent teen (I remind myself that I prayed for this every time she rolls her eyes at me!) – and a survivor to be sure.  We will get through this too, together.

On that note, I want to acknowledge our partners at Suffield Public Schools.  In consolidating Information Technology, we have strengthened both the Town and SPS.  Under Director Rebecca Osleger, the schools led by Superintendent Van Tasel teleconferenced with over 1,000 parents sharing information about upcoming virtual learning.  Rebecca’s proactive efforts enabled many Town employees to now continue working uninterrupted from the safety of home.  IT is proving to be a lifesaver in a time of social distancing!  

We also welcome new Town employees helping shepherd us through COVID-19 and readying us to hit the ground running when we come out the other end.  

Emergency Management Director, John Spencer, hired in late 2019 as Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association Chief of Services.  An experienced paramedic, John also served as Regional EMS Coordinator for CT DPH.  John was responsible for regulatory oversight, strategic planning, policy development and offering technical expertise to local EMS agencies.  With current challenges, we’re lucky to be in such experienced hands! 

KML Director, Garrett Pinder.  With a Master of Library Science, Garrett brings modern library experience from academia and the public sector.  He knows KML and Suffield’s residents well serving as Reference Librarian since April 2018.  More than ever, his leadership ability to be adaptable while embracing current and emerging library trends will sustain KML now and into the future.  He and the staff are bringing innovative resources to residents remotely. It’s a great time to read an e-book! 

I want to encourage you to welcome this extra time we have been given to spend with our precious children and families. I know I always feel that time is going too fast. Well, it’s about to go a little slower so we will be best served if we accept and embrace it.  If I or the Town of Suffield can be of any assistance to you, your families and your neighbors, please call my office. We are ready and able to help.  

In closing, thank you to the healthcare workers and our emergency responders on the front lines of this pandemic who are standing ready to help us all.    

Please stay informed – visit Emergency Alert, sign up for Town News and emergency notifications through CTAlert.  Most importantly, stay well.

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