A Bittersweet Goodbye to Two Long-time Town Employees

Donna Lane
Issue Date: 
April, 2020
Article Body: 

Chris Griffin – Norwood Light/Broadband
After 47 years on the job, Chris Griffin retired from the Norwood Light Department in January of this year. His Norwood journey started with a heads-up from his mother, who worked in the billing department. She told him that there would soon be openings and he should apply.
Griffin applied and the rest is history. He was hired as a substation operator. He retired as the Meter Maintenance Foreman.
“Chris was an unbelievable employee ... a really hard worker with a happy attitude,” Jim Collins, Superintendent of Norwood Light/Broadband said “There’s no question that we’ll miss him.”
“I met Chris when I joined the department as a Northeastern Co-op student and we formed a strong friendship over the years,” Assistant Superintendent Kevin Shaughnessy concurred. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I’m really gonna miss him.”
According to Griffin, the feeling is mutual, because what he says he will miss most is “seeing the guys all of the time,” one of whom is his son Tommy who is a line foreman, as well as a nephew who works in the department, and the crew he has worked with for so long.
“I loved my job,” Griffin said. “Norwood Light is a great place to work.”
A great place, but not always easy…..especially those 3 o’clock in the morning phone calls during a storm. Griffin credits his wife Martha for being a good sport about those early morning calls.
Exploring is on the agenda for Griffin and his family during retirement.
“I plan to travel; there are parts of Dedham and Walpole I haven’t seen yet,” Griffin quipped with his great sense of humor.
Turning serious, he did say that it is time that he and his wife – who both retired on the same day – do some travelling. But that might not happen right away. His four children and 11 grandchildren all live within five houses of his, and they have a list of projects they would like him to complete for them.
The family recently gifted him with a golf cart. To play golf? No! He uses it to transport his grandkids to the bus stop and around the neighborhood. Spending time with his grandchildren is one of his favorite things to do.
We thank Chris (and Martha, too) for the work he did on our behalf these past 47 years. May you spend many happy years enjoying your time with family, friends, and travel – wherever you finally decide to go.
Lee Kennedy – Recreation Department via Norwood Light/Broadband
March 31st marked the retirement of Lee Kennedy, a 25-year employee of the Town, most of which were spent in the Recreation Department. Kennedy began her employment in the billing department of Norwood Light in 1995. A year later, she applied for the administrative position at the Recreation Department where she has worked ever since. Often referred to as “the face of the Rec Department,” Kennedy greeted all who entered with a smile and conversation.
“I love interacting with people,” Kennedy said.
One of her favorite memories over the years is the excitement exhibited by “the little ones” who stopped at her desk when they were finished with a program. She would stamp their hand and then give them a choice of lollipop. It became a “thing”.
“I love talking with people and getting to know them,” Kennedy admitted. “I got to know many of them as babies who are now coming in with kids of their own.”
Kennedy is also well-known around Town as the prime mover for the Circle of Hope which she founded with public health nurse Kathy Ronco in 1998 in memory of her daughter Michelle, who battled with leukemia. During her illness, the entire Norwood community, many of whom did not even know Michelle, came together to support her. It is in that spirit that the Circle of Hope was formed and in which it continues.
Over the years, the Circle of Hope Foundation has assisted Norwood families facing financially hard times from a medical illness with various expenses depending on their needs, such as rent, mortgage, utilities, food, medical bills, and equipment, handicap ramps, prescriptions, gas cards and airline tickets to treatment centers.
“I am proud of the Circle of Hope and what we have been able to accomplish,” Kennedy said. “The people who support it are the best of the best!”
Not comfortable talking about herself, Kennedy said she has not decided how to spend her retirement and will take a month off before deciding what to do. She would love, however, to go back and work at the Recreation Department a couple days a week. Otherwise, she has no grand plans.
“I’m a stay at home person,” Kennedy said. “I’m actually pretty boring.” It is doubtful that anyone who knows Kennedy would agree with that statement.
The Town and its residents thank you for all the smiles you brought, small hands you stamped, and people’s lives you have touched – not only at the Recreation Department but also through the Circle of Hope Foundation.