Local officials recognized longtime Huntsville staffer Steve Hernen, as he retires after 36 years with the town.
Congratulations were the first order of business at Wednesday morning’s General Committee meeting in Huntsville, as Hernen joined remotely from Arizona in the United States.
It began with a video presenting written and recorded well-wishes from several local officials.
“As a council, we also want to wish you all the best going forward, we hope you have great health and happiness, and that you have more dreams to fulfill,” said Mayor Karin Terziano in the video. “You have more time to spend with your family, but I’m pretty sure you’re not going to sit still for long.”
The video also included former Mayor of Huntsville and current MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka Scott Aitchison, as well as longtime MPP Norm Miller.
“I just think back to when I first met you as a punk kid on council, and I think about what I’ve learned from you over these 36 years,” said Aitchison. “Thank you Steve, for everything you’ve done for the town and you’ve done for me. When I was mayor, you were a rock, and I relied on you pretty heavily.”
After the video, Hernen was given the floor.
“To all the mayors, to all the councils that I worked with, to all the staff that I worked with over the years: I can’t thank you enough,” said Hernen. “It’s been a fabulous career, and if I was a little younger, I’d do it all over again. I don’t know if everyone could handle me or not, but I’d give it a try.”
“I am looking forward to what the future brings next. I know today it’s bringing 31 degrees and sun, so I might even go find a golf course today, who knows,” joked Hernen. He then resolved to “grab a beer” with council after the pandemic and “reminisce about the good times.”
Longtime councillor Brian Thompson, the town’s Chair of Public Works, gave the final send-off.
“When this particular term started, I badgered Steve into signing some kind of affidavit that he would stay on as director of ops until my term was over. “I didn’t quite get that, but I got three out of the four years, so I’m pretty grateful for that,” said an emotional Thompson. “I’m going to miss you, my friend. I’m going to miss you a lot.”
Hernen announced his retirement at the end of August. He retires as Director of Operations and Protective Services, having previously served as the town’s fire chief, deputy fire chief, and as a volunteer firefighter.
Although set to leave at the end of January, Hernen remained until Feb. 28 as the town searched for a successor, who has not yet been named.