NORTH SMITHFIELD – He’s been at the heart of the town’s emergency response efforts during everything from blizzards and tornadoes, to missing children and the H1N1 pandemic, but now, North Smithfield Deputy Director of the Emergency Management Major John Wojcik has retired from the role.
The Town Council and administration thanked Wojcik this months for his, “outstanding contribution,” and 31 years of service to North Smithfield, and the safety of its residents.
“You and I shared many days and many evenings and weekends trying to make this town safer,” said Councilor Paulette Hamilton, referencing her previous time serving as town administrator. “You were always there when we needed you. You were there for so many things over the years.”
“You never asked for anything and you gave 100 percent,” Hamilton added. “The people that are in the EMA with you have tremendous respect for you, as do we.”
Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski and EMA Director Peter Branconnier acknowledged Wojcik’s many years of dedicated service in his weekly newsletter, pointing to, among other accomplishments, the deputy director’s work during the town’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“John aided in the operation of several Covid clinics at the Holy Trinity Parish (Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church) school in nearby Woonsocket,” noted the newsletter. “On a cold Saturday morning John helped pass out several thousand Covid test kits to area residents at the former Halliwell School.”
Council President Kimberly Alves was also among the volunteers to work with Wojcik during the town’s 2020 vaccination effort.
“You guys jumped in as soon as it came to town and we worked together every day through it,” Alves said to Wojcik and his wife, Diane Wojcik. “It was a pleasure working with you, and I just want to thank you.”
Zwolenski acknowledged another one of Diane’s contributions at a Town Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 13.
“Thank you for giving us your husband for 31 years,” he said with a laugh.
Councilors presented Wojcik with a citation noting, “The entire council and administration takes pride in the dedication that is behind such an accomplishment by one of its employees.”
Councilor Claire O’Hara and Branconnier also both acknowledged the longtime emergency worker’s well-known wit.
“John always had kind words for people. His sense of humor was well appreciated during EMA monthly meetings,” noted the newsletter. “We wish to acknowledge John’s years of hard work and his dedication to our Town. John truly exemplified service before self.”
Wojcik accepted the citation with a few thanks of his own.
“I just want to say it’s been quite an adventure. I’ve meant many interesting people and the people have been also very good,” he said. “Thank you to all the people for letting me serve 31 years.”