Editorials, Opinion

10 years and one pandemic later …

Depending on how you look at it, we’re either more than a week late in congratulating Dr. Lee Smith on his imminent retirement from the Monongalia County Health Department, or a little more than two months early.

After 10 years leading the MCHD, Smith has announced he will retire in May and Dr. Brian Huggins will take over.

Smith has more than earned his retirement after leading Mon County through the COVID-19 pandemic — especially those early days. Under Smith’s leadership — and with the hard work and dedication of MCHD employees — Mon County residents had access to rapid tests multiple days a week, a notification system for exposures, information and advice made available to the public and later, when vaccines became available, access to reliable information and the shots themselves. He coordinated outreach in the community and testing in area nursing homes. He stepped up with calm, confident leadership at a time when many of us felt the world was falling down around us.

Smith will be missed, and we wish him the best as he closes this chapter of his life and begins a new (hopefully less stressful) one.

Huggins will have big shoes to fill, but he seems up to the challenge and we wish him  luck.