It was a festive farewell for two long-time Burke County Health Department leaders this week at Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton.
Health Department Director Rebecca McLeod and health department Health Education Supervisor Lisa Moore both retired Wednesday.
McLeod began her public health career in Cleveland County for a year and a half before accepting a public health education position in Burke County 34 years ago. She became health director nine years ago.
In February, McLeod told The News Herald the decision to retire wasn’t an easy one but she believes it is time, and she’s ready.
“I want to have fun with my husband, who’s retired,” McLeod said at the time.
Her husband, Mack McLeod, was at the retirement celebration on Tuesday for his wife and Moore. He’s been retired for two years and their two sons are grown and out of the house. The worst of the pandemic is behind us, so she felt this was the right time to retire, he said.
“She’s a true, humble public servant,” Mack said.
“She deserves it, she deserves it,” he said about his wife retiring. “She’ll miss it but she’ll be okay.”
He jokingly said she’s going to upset his daily routine. But then said his wife already has things planned out for them to do, including a trip.
“It’s bittersweet, but I feel good,” Rebecca said at the celebration.
She plans to enjoy her retirement going on cruises and road trips, some of which will be trips to see their sons.
Lisa Moore first joined the Burke County Health Department in December 1989 as a public health education specialist trainee. She left the department in 1994 to work for Catawba County Public Health but came back to the Burke health department in 2004.
Charles Moore, Lisa’s husband, said he’s happy for his wife and she will get to do what she wants to do. He plans to let her relax, which he says she’s good at, before he will ask her for some help around the house.
But Lisa already has her own list of things she plans to tackle.
She said she’s heading home to take care of projects at her house and her mother’s house, and she plans to take some cruises.
“The people,” she said when ask what she will miss most about her job. What she won’t miss is getting up early to be at work by 8 a.m., she won’t miss staying late and she won’t miss working weekends.
“The people. I’m really going to miss the people,” Lisa reiterated. “I’m going to miss the work. I’ve enjoyed my work for 30 years. I enjoyed what I did. I enjoyed working with people, I enjoyed teaching people. I really did enjoy that all of my career.”
This last year has changed things, she said about the pandemic. But she thinks things will get back to normal and the new leadership at the department will do great things.
The Burke County Board of Health announced in June that it has hired Danny Scalise II as the new director of the health department. He will take the helm on July 12. Chae Moore, who is already employed at the health department, will take Lisa Moore’s place as health education supervisor, it was recently announced.