As the Pomfret Town Board prepares for its reorganizational meeting today at 3 p.m., one familiar face will no longer be present at the front table in the town hall.
Outgoing Councilwoman Patricia Lynch Christina decided not to seek re-election after 21 years of service to the town of Pomfret. She recently addressed the audience during a town board meeting in one of her final reports while seated on the council. In an emotional moment for the retiree, Christina fought back tears as she thanked the public for allowing her to serve the town.
"I have to say, it has been quite an adventure serving the town for 21 years," she said. "I'm grateful to the voters of the town for giving me the confidence that I would serve them well. And I've worked with wonderful people who always supported good ideas."
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
Outgoing Pomfret Town Councilwoman Patricia Lynch Christina received an embroidered blanket that depicts her 21 years of service to the town after one of her final reports during a recent town board meeting.
After her comments, Town Clerk Allison Dispense, on behalf of the town board, presented Christina with an embroidered blanket that depicts her years of service to the town.
"I wanted to thank you for being the longest-serving member of the board we've had at this point," Supervisor Donald Steger told her. "It's been a pleasure working with you all these years. I enjoyed your level of professionalism in your approach to this position, and I can only hope to emulate you."
Christina first ran for the Pomfret Town Board in 1992 and took office in 1993. She spent the past eight years as deputy supervisor for the town.
"My first door-to-door in 1992, I loved it," she said in an interview with the OBSERVER. "I started at McClenathan's (Mobile Home Park), and McClenathan's was a different kind of community then. There were a lot of retirees living there. I loved going door-to-door because I loved connecting with the people. People would offer me a cup of hot chocolate. If it was pouring rain, they wanted to know if I wanted to come in and dry my hair. People were very good to me."
As a Pomfret elected official, Christina also had the task of working with the Office for the Aging.
"That was one of my favorite responsibilities," she said. "We had some struggles when we could no longer afford the rent at St. Anthony's, but we worked things out, and we have a vibrant group of seniors, and that was the struggle - getting there. But, we stayed with it, and the Grape Belt Seniors are very active (today)."
She also loved the responsibility of being on the Buildings and Grounds Committee, as she used to plant the flowers outside the town hall on Memorial Day.
"Believe it or not, I hosed down the sidewalk and swept the debris, but I really loved what I did," she said. "The enthusiasm I brought to my position, I think, was evident. I think that's probably why I was re-elected time after time."
The outgoing councilwoman said one of the biggest accomplishments Pomfret achieved, as well as one of the challenges Pomfret still faces, is the North End Water District, which will soon be entering its second phase of work.
"It took us five years for it to become a reality and, to be honest, we had a lot of setbacks," she said. "It was a thrill, for me, to see all those fire hydrants along Webster Road and Route 20. It was a year ago this time when that stack of blue pipes was up on Chautauqua Road, and that, to me, was a work of art!"
Christina also cited a townwide comprehensive plan with site plans as an important highlight of her time in office.
"We have a vision of what Pomfret's portion of Route 60 can look like with serious site plans," she said.
She added the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. was "a dream and a focus by then-town supervisor Mark Thomas."
"The regional water district was his dream," she said. "He felt that that was one thing that would spur real economic growth in the area. And we're on our way. Chadwick Bay has been revived after a brief hiatus, and we're moving forward."
Some of her parting words Christina directed to the voters during her interview with the OBSERVER.
"Thank you for allowing me to work for you," she stated. "I did it with great pride in the town of Pomfret."
She also wished to give advice to other individuals interested in running for office.
"Be willing to make a commitment and put the time in. Come with a vision for developing the potential of the town, and make your decisions in an apolitical manner. Don't make your decisions guided by politics; make them by what you know is good for the residents in your community."
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