After serving eight years on the Wellington Village Council, Matt Willhite got a little choked up and teary-eyed when making his farewell speech in his last meeting.
Vice Mayor John Greene joked that the rare show of emotion could be bad for the reputation of the normally stalwart, staunchly-opinionated veteran councilman.
“I’ve been saving it up,” Willhite responded.
All the council people and staff at the dais agreed that Willhite has always been making decisions that he felt were best for the village.
Willhite has been up-front with the voters and other people on the council about his position on every issue, Councilman John McGovern said.
“I think most importantly, Matt, you’ve always served in a way where everyone always knew where you stood,” he said.
He also lauded Willhite as a family man and thanked the councilman’s family for putting up with the late nights. Willhite’s two sons took up the seat in his chair that will be filled by councilman-elect Michael Napoleone after the March 15 election.
Willhite is running for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives after being term limited off council. Council members are only allowed to serve two consecutive terms.
In the past eights years the village has built Village Hall, the Amphitheater, Scotts Place, the new Tennis Facility, the Wellington Community Center currently under construction and the Patriot Memorial.
Willhite joked that he initially never wanted to live in Wellington when he started dating his now wife. But he has since come around, convincing his mother to move and raising his kids in the community.
He will look fondly on his years of service and is happy that it can be an example for his sons.
“It’s truly been an honor to serve this village — to serve the residents. To serve the visitors,” he said.