Sammy Watson, a longtime administrator within Tuscaloosa's DCH Health System, has retired after nearly three decades of service at the hospital.

Watson's career has included long stints as a radio personality, a decade representing Alberta on the Tuscaloosa City Council, more than 25 years in community relations roles at DCH and a nearly successful campaign to become mayor of Tuscaloosa in 2005. In each of those roles, but especially at the hospital, he earned a reputation for connecting the right people in business, government and other sectors to keep projects moving until they were done.

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Andy North, the Health System's Vice President for Communications, confirmed to the Thread that Watson retired at the end of July.

"[Watson] served the DCH Health System in a community relations role for more than 26 years. In that time he was a tireless advocate for DCH and health care in general," North said. "He is highly regarded internally and externally for both his good humor and extensive community knowledge and contacts. He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best in his retirement."

Watson was first elected to the city council in 1985 and resigned from his seat 10 years later to avoid conflicts of interest when he was hired at DCH. He very nearly returned to elected office when Tuscaloosa's longtime mayor Al DuPont retired in 2005 after 24 years in that role.

Watson ran to replace DuPont and actually led all candidates in the general election, but failed to win enough votes to avoid a runoff against underdog Walt Maddox, who managed to win the resulting runoff and remains mayor of Tuscaloosa today.

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