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A Bittersweet Farewell

December 05, 2018 11:13 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- There was music, there was laughter, and there were a whole lot of stories to tell as the city of Rochester celebrated the careers of both Mayor Ardell Brede and his longtime assistant Donna Bussell.

For the last 16 years, the two have worked side by side. 

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“The reality is starting to sink in that, yeah, this is coming to an end,” Mayor Ardell Brede said Wednesday night, at his retirement celebration at the Rochester Arts Center.

Along with the mayor, Donna says she has a lot to be thankful for, “This is really different for me to be recognized. Mayor Brede is usually in the limelight. I'm the one who's behind the scenes. This just feels surreal.”

“It's pretty humbling to look and see who comes out and of course tonight we're doing a two-for with my associate, Donna. We were a team for 16 years. She was going to retire in June and I said you can't do that, you've got to stick with me until the end,” Mayor Brede said. 

“I thought it would be better if we would leave at different times. Because of his wife Judy and her health issues, I thought I can't do that to him. I will stay and help him,” Donna said.

Mayor Brede suggested having a dual retirement party for himself and Donna, “I said, we've been a team, everybody knows that we'll do it together.” 

With a laugh, Donna said, “It's surreal. These people are coming here to recognize me.”

“Somebody said what surprised you the first year as mayor and I said the number of events you get invited to. Then I decided at the end of the year I would count them to see how many there were on my calendar. It was over 1300,” said Mayor Brede.

He went on to say, “The thing I realized too was how important that was to the folks who put on the events where you might be welcoming the folks for Rochester. Also, at the same time, the second graders that come into city hall to meet the mayor. It's the joys like that, that are away from a council meeting. It's been a joy for sure.”
  
More than 100 people came out to honor the mayor and Donna.  Kim Norton will officially take over for Mayor Brede in January.

Credits

Noelle Anderson

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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