|Posted by MLBaron on June 10, 2009 at 8:27 AM|
Judy Tonnessen never took the easy way out, and The Town of Fairhaven will not forget her. She led a candle light march down Main St to a vigil at town hall in 1983. The early eighties in Fairhaven were bad years of confusion, anger, and fear. The PCB issues and the correlation to childrens sickness and deaths around Cushman Park brought nationwide attention. The reality hit hard when a news reporter knocked at my door in 1982 and she asked what I thought of the death of12 year old Frankie down the street. He died of Leukemia. He lived on Main St along Cushman Park. There were other sick kids in the neighborhood too. The Cushman Park PCB theory remains inconclusive to this day. The group L.I.F.E.: Living in A Fairer Environment was spearheaded by Judith Tonnessen. This initiative was extraordinary during a volatile situation. The goal appeared to be simple,to bring about environmental awareness to the community. However, the PCB contamination in the area had one of the highest levels in the country. The hardest part was getting answers, and the questions brought about more questions. She also was the first female candidate to run for selectman in Fairhaven history. I worked closely with her and saw first hand the courage and sincere dignity of what heroes are made of. There were times when tears of frustration filled her eyes.but she never gave up. Her strong religious convictions fueled her spark. A true definition of the Shibboleth of faith. Her battles are now over. Our environment is cleaner and safer. My hometown; Town of Fairhaven has more heroes in its inventory yet to come forward., but Judy will always be the yardstick we will measure them by. Judy made it clear that the Town of Fairhaven is NOT Town Hall, but the people who live here. Judy Tonnessen crowned Miss Fairhaven in 1963.