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When Kathy Tomczak told her older granddaughter she’d be retiring from CHFA to spend more time with her grandkids, the response she got was unexpected. “The first thing she said was, ‘But Nana, we want to come visit you at the animal hospital!’” It’s a bittersweet time for Kathy, who is retiring from CHFA after almost 29 years. “I will miss everyone, but I’m happy to have the free time, especially with my grandkids,” she says.

CHFA retirementKathy with Ora, left, and Tully.Before she joined CHFA in 1993, Kathy was a stay-at-home-mom who then worked at the Meijer corporate office. When she first began working here part-time as a bather, her onboarding was simple. “My kids were in school and I was looking for a new job. I just walked in to see if they had any openings and I got hired on the spot,” she said.

After a year, she began working at the front desk. For 22 years, she answered phones and greeted clients, becoming the face of the clinic for many of our long-term clients. Seven years ago, because of a family illness that required much of Kathy’s time and care, she shifted her focus from the front of the clinic to assisting with operations, where she has done everything from ordering uniforms and office supplies to organizing and putting on team luncheons.

Throughout her career, she’s enjoyed the time she’s spent with clients and coworkers alike. An animal lover, she loved being able to bring her dogs to work and being surrounded by adorable patients all day long. “It’s been a great place to work, and it’s always fun,” she said. “I have so many great memories.” But with her husband retired for five years now and her granddaughters getting older and participating in more after-school activities, the prospect of retiring was too good to pass up.

Grandkids and granddogs
Kathy has no plans to slow down during her post-retirement life. “We have a cottage up north and it will be so nice to spend time up thereCHFA retirement party for KathyKathy at her retirement party. and not be limited to weekends.” In addition to boating on a pontoon with friends up north, they’re also planning to travel to visit their son in Colorado and spend time with family members, both two-legged and four-legged. Her entire family loves dogs, and in addition to her two dogs, Ora, a Black Lab mix, and Tully, a Chocolate Lab, she has five “granddogs” she adores.

After her retirement, Kathy and her granddaughters will still visit the office. “They told me, ‘Kathy, bring the girls anytime.’ They just won’t be there to visit me!”