Council President Wayne Matewsky visited death’s door for certain after having a critical heart attack three months ago while on vacation in Florida, but it was a door he did not pass through and now has recovered and was on hand to re-assume his post and tell the tale. On Monday night before the early City Budget special meeting, Council Interim President Anthony DiPierro introduced Matewksy back to the body, and relinquished the seat back to Matewksy – where the long-time councilor relayed the harrowing tale of how he survived a major heart attack, recovered in Florida and at home, and discovered just how much he is appreciated in Everett.
He said he was in Ft. Lauderdale at a motel he has stayed at for the past four years, going there for some rest and relaxation from the COVID pandemic and ended up having a major heart attack. “I went to Florida for a rest and I was there eight days and the heart attack hit me,” he said. “It was sudden. I had no chest pains but just couldn’t breathe. Thank God there is a fire station right behind the motel. I actually went there to get away from sirens and trains, but thank God for that fire station. The day of the heart attack, when I opened my door and told the manager at the pool to call 9-1-1, that fire department was there in a minute, and they rushed me to Holy Cross Hospital. They saved my life.
For two weeks I was in an induced coma from what I’m told.” Matewsky, 62, has spent the last month or more recovering at Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge, and had spent some time in Florida recovering and gathering strength for the trip back to Everett. Once he got back to Everett, Matewsky said he was touched at the outpouring of support from all of his colleagues – each of which he named and from residents and friends throughout the City. Some of his colleagues and his friends also visited him in Florida, such as DiPierro and Councilor Michael Marchese and Library Board member Edna Micelin.
He said he has gotten more than 400 cards in the mail, baskets and gifts as well. “I can’t thank the people of Everett enough,” he said. “I’ve never been sick in my life, but there were so many people who visited me or sent me notes to get well and I’ll never forget it. I’m lucky to be alive and I mean that. I want to thank the membership of this Council. I didn’t realize people appreciated me as much as they did. When something this serious happens to you, you just really appreciate the kindness you receive.” Mayor Carlo DeMaria after the meeting sent out a statement welcoming Matewsky back to work. “President Matewsky’s return was a pleasant surprise on Monday evening,” said Mayor DeMaria. “He gave us all quite a scare, but he has certainly come a long way and I look forward to continuing to serve the residents with him.”
After telling his story, Matewsky didn’t seem to miss a beat – launching into a Budget meeting and then conducting a full City Council meeting that went nearly three hours. It was to the amazement of many in the Chambers and watching at home.