Rosie Kadwell’s had plenty of obstacles to overcome in her 32-year career in public health.
The Haliburton dietitian reflected on her journey at her retirement party May 3. Family, friends and colleagues celebrated Kadwell for her work with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.
Kadwell started her career split between Peterborough and the County of Haliburton. After her job in Peterborough was cut, she worked to lobby to get a full-time position in public health, which she eventually managed.
“I always wanted to work in public health,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot of cutbacks through my career and the moral is hang in there folks, it works out.”
People close to Kadwell described the work she put into the programs in the community. Her accomplishments include chairing Harvest Haliburton and bringing forth a community food assessment, starting up student nutrition programs and implementing a school board-wide healthy eating policy.
“Rosie is a trailblazer,” Lisa Tolentino of Harvest Haliburton said. “We’re talking about cutting a path where there is no path. We’re talking about veering and it’s hard work.”
Former health unit colleague Leslie Orpana said Kadwell had high expectations for herself.
“She could always see how many unmet needs were out there and she wanted so very much to meet them all. There was always a resource that needed to be created, a group that needed a presentation, a school that needed help,” Orpana said. “She managed to put healthy eating on a lot of people’s radars.”
Kadwell’s husband, Kris Kadwell commented on her dedication to her work over the years.
“She’s very passionate about her work. ‘Let’s get the damn job done,’” he said. “Her dedication and her commitment are just overwhelming.”
Kadwell said the timing of her retirement came from a desire to be physically active, with her husband also retiring one year ago.
“I wanted to retire when I was still young and healthy and able to do a lot of physical activities, which I love to do,” she said. “Be able to spend time with my husband and we can enjoy life together.”
Kadwell thanked the community for the help she received in pushing food programs and healthy eating.
“I’ve worked here for over 30 years and I was welcomed into the community back then. I’ve worked with a lot of people that allowed us to change the landscape of food and healthy eating within this community, so I’m grateful for that,” she said.