CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — “This really stings us to the core,” said Jenna Koch, the president of the City of Tonawanda Common Council.
Tuesday was the final common council meeting of the year in Tonawanda, but one councilman was missing.
Tom Newman, a 53-year-old father and grandfather, died on Friday. He had COVID-19.
His fellow councilmembers remember him as a dedicated public servant.
Tuesday, his seat was draped in black. On his desk was a pink bow around of vase of flowers, the volunteer firefighter always made sure to raise awareness about breast cancer.
“We are of opposite parties politically, but we're Tonawanda first. So, we both have respected and admired each other,” added Koch.
At the end of the Common Council meeting, his former colleagues made pleas for everyone to get vaccinated.
“When you get together with friends and family over holidays and just think to yourself, do you think they'd be better off without me here?” said Mayor Rick Davis.
“Be smart. Get boosted if you haven’t. Get vaccinated if you haven’t. I want to see you next year,” said Dawn Kammerdeiner, a member of the common council.
“Tom was so passionate about this community and loved his family, loved his community. So, if we can do anything, just show a stranger love, or show a community member love, especially during these times,” said Koch.
In a future meeting, the city council will appoint a new councilmember to the vacant seat.