Sherrie Montgomery calls it a career

Hamblen/Jefferson Health Department Director Sherrie Montgomery with her husband Tom at her retirement party Friday at the Hamblen County Health Department.

Sherrie Montgomery got quite a sendoff Friday afternoon.

After serving for almost 16 with the Hamblen and Jefferson county health departments, Montgomery wrapped her career with a reception at the Hamblen County location.

With exception of working six years for the Hamblen County School System, Montgomery’s career has been spent with the State of Tennessee.

Montgomery put a cap on 15 and a half years with the health department, serving as diretor of Hamblen and Jefferson counties with a retirement party in her honor held.

This past year has been extremely challenging.

With COVID-19 in the forefront, Montgomery has spent a lot of time on the front lines of the disease, whether it be with administration of shots, administration of COVID-19 tests and coordination with other departments, especially members of the armed forces who have come in to help the health department administer tests.

She earned a well-deserved retirement party, attended by friends and her husband, Tom.

“I may join the Volunteer Mobilizer and continue to help health departments with the big COVID-19 events,” Montgomery said.

She will also do a lot of “being a grandmother.” Montgomery has three grandchildren, but a fourth is coming in November.

Montgomery will miss the relationships with people as she leaves the health department.

I’ll miss the community partnerships because I like the hometown,” Montgomery said. “I really like to do hometown things.”

Montgomery said that there were times whether her fellow workers wondered if they could survive the COVID-19 storm.

“We all held each other up and we really tried to focus on that day we were in and doing our best with that day,” she said. “I liked being very supportive of all of the difference services we provided and the wide range of health services we can give to the community. We had professional and qualified staff to provide those services.

When Montgomery became director of the health department, her department was preparing for a resurgence of smallpox that never came. The next health crisis was the H1N1.

Montgomery brought a copy of a 1958 article about polio shots being given by the Health Center, when the department was located on Buffalo Trail to a Rotary Club meeting in May.

“It talked about the polio vaccination program was a ‘race against time,’” she said.

Now, Montgomery will have time on her hands to spend with grandchildren or to volunteer.