Hazel McCallion, dubbed “Hurricane Hazel” by her supporters, has held the office of mayor of Mississauga, Ontario since 1978! Born in 1921, Hazel is one of the longest serving elected leaders in history, recently being reelected to her 12th consecutive term!
In the late 70’s when Hazel took office, she faced a series of difficult tests, yet each time proved herself to be as tough and determined as any man could hope to be! In 1979, there was a train derailment, which spilled a mess of toxic chemicals and resulted in a huge explosion.
By the next day Hazel had already ordered parts of her city to evacuate, which is no easy task. She personally oversaw the transportation of over 218,000 people, all with not a single injury, making it the largest and most successful North American evacuation exercise to date!
After this incident there was nothing that could deter Hazel’s supports. Another story that exemplifies her no-nonsense attitude was when she received news of a person attempting to commit suicide and was asked for help.
She arrived on the scene and bluntly told the man to get down so emergency crews could do more worthwhile crises. The man was so shocked he immediately calmed down and surrendered to police!
Let’s hope Hazel continues to accomplish great things event at the age of 92!