By Zoeanne Tafolla
We lost a friend and safety pioneer in the wastewater field on February, 24, 2019 when Lorri McAuliffe lost her six-year battle with cancer. She and her husband, Chris, were a power couple in the field of wastewater. She was knowledgeable not only on all things safety, but she had first hand experience of operating a plant and how to keep it running safely.
Lorri was a Grade IV in California and worked as an operator then project manager for Veolia in Burlingame and Fairfield Suisun. Lorri later became a Loss Consultant with CSRMA. Later partnering with David Patzer to establish Risk Control Online.
I met Lorri in 1994, when I was new to the wastewater field. One of the first things Lorri did, was introduce me to CWEA. She was the CWEA State Safety Committee Chair three times in three decades and Ops. Challenge Judge for the Safety Event for many, many years. I followed in her footsteps.
Lorri not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. She loved running the Children’s Ministry at her Church in Napa and adopted (sponsored) many children in Africa and in Peru for their entire childhood and into their college years. She was so excited when she went to both Africa and Peru to meet the girls. I remember fondly the pictures she brought back and was so proud to show off!
Lorri loved traveling with Chris all over the world and visiting her home town of Hillsboro Oregon. We talked often about the Crooked River Country where she and Chris had property.
When she discovered she had breast cancer, she took the bull by the horns and conducted her own research and was instrumental in her treatment plans. She also began a cancer support group in the Napa Area and will be dearly missed by all of the people she touched.
Lorri was a safety mentor as well as a mentor to women in our industry. Not only to me, but many, many others. She was a people person. Tim Page-Bottorff wrote of Lorri, “She was the center of attention. She had people around her all the time. Not because she demanded it, but because people gravitated towards her personality. She was always smiling and easy to work with. She was a mentor and loved her family. She will be missed.”
They say that the greatest compliment any of us could ever have is the legacy that we leave behind. Pericles wrote, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” Lorri, your love and compassion for humankind will be your legacy. We will miss you. God Speed my friend, until we meet again…..I’m sure that those streets of gold can’t have a better safety professional looking after them!