Melville enforces health regulations

August 27, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Elsie Melville wouldn't be Waynesboro's health inspector today if she hadn't stopped home on her way to California nearly 50 years ago to pack some things and say goodbye to family and friends.

Melville graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1945 and went to Philadelphia to study nursing at Methodist Hospital. Three years later, she became a registered nurse. She worked for Methodist until 1950, when she and her best friend and fellow nurse accepted nursing jobs in Los Angeles.

Before heading to the West Coast, she stopped by Waynesboro to get her things, say her goodbyes and take a temporary job at Chambersburg, Pa., Hospital until she was ready to leave for California.

Then she met Gerald Melville again.

They went to high school together but didn't have much to do with each other then.

"I never even liked him," Elsie said.

They ended up together and Elsie forgot about California. She and Gerald were married the following summer, in June 1951. They had three children. He died in 1991.


In early 1952, Elsie went to work at Waynesboro Hospital and spent the next 28 years there.

"I worked on all the floors," she said. She retired in 1980.

In 1982, she got a part-time job with the health department and has been at it lever since. At age 70, she said she has no plans to retire soon.

Most of her duties include annual inspections of restaurants and other food-service establishments. She also inspects and issues licenses to vendors who set up temporary food booths and carts at festivals and other events in the borough.

She gets paid by the hour.

Elsie said she has never closed down an establishment for more than 24 hours. She gives the owners time to comply with the regulations.

"I don't close willy-nilly. I give warnings first. They know the rules. Most of them know me. I give a lot of 100-percent inspections," she said.

She also responds to citizen complaints and works with borough police, the borough's zoning enforcement officer and other agencies on health department matters. She was involved with the investigation of a rat infestation problem in a Waynesboro neighborhood last year.

"I thoroughly enjoy this job. I like people. I've worked with the public all of my life," she said.

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