Haverhill Public Health Director Connolly Receives Accolades for Guidance During Pandemic

Haverhill Public Health Director Mary Connolly and Cedardale Health and Fitness Executive Director Andrew Gunberg at a ceremony in Connolly's honor. (WHAV News photograph.)

(More photographs below.)

During the darkest days of the pandemic, Cedardale Health and Fitness Executive Director Andrew Gunberg didn’t know where to turn for industry-specific COVID-19 restrictions, best practices for contact tracing or other guidelines.

Then, he found Haverhill’s Mary Connolly, who has since moved from public health nurse to Haverhill’s public health director.

“Mary was always there to help from her end, share what she learned from the DPH (Department of Public Health) and help us guide, help me guide, help my team of directors guide through the pandemic safely and continue to be open and in operation,” Gunberg told a small group, gathered in honor of Connolly Wednesday at Cedardale.

Gunberg, who had relocated to Haverhill for the Cedardale job, said he logged more hours on the telephone during the health crisis with Connolly than with his family and friends back home. Because Cedardale is more than a health club, hosting retail and refreshments, he explained it was difficult to navigate through the maze of rules for each type of business. With Connolly’s help, he said he was able to meet the needs of 130 employees and 4,000 members.

Gunberg decided to share his positive experience with Gov. Charlie Baker, who agreed Connolly deserves special recognition. Baker sent a citation which was formally presented Wednesday.

Connolly said, “I don’t think anybody knew what we were getting into when we started with this and the regulations constantly changing.” She credited Gunberg’s diligence with why Cedardale was able to remain open so long.

City Council President Timothy J. Jordan said he witnessed first-hand the results of Connolly’s guidance since he and his wife are members of the health club and were able to continue visiting five days a week. Jordan, accompanied by fellow Councilors Melinda E. Barrett, Joseph J. Bevilacqua and Thomas J. Sullivan, presented Connolly with a bouquet of flowers from the City Council.

Besides the governor’s recognition, Connolly was presented with a citation from Sen. Diana DiZoglio’s office and her boss, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, cheered her on.

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