A presence and a gift.
I first met Ronna when she became my boss in 1996, I didn’t know then just how important she would become in my life and, eventually my parents lives.
I worked with Ronna when she came to be the Executive director at the Riverside Humane Society. I had been working there for a couple months already but due a mass lay-off, the reason I went there, the Animal shelter had been closed to the public and, it was time to reopen.
We needed more employees to help out in caring for the animals, at the time it was only me and one other person. Ronna gave me many titles but she always wanted me to be in charge, even though I was so young she must have believed I handled myself in a professional way, as a leader Ronna and I interviewed potential employees and we decided together the new staff. It wasn’t always easy for me because every person we hired save one was older than me.One thing I don’t think I’ll ever forget is when Ronna first came to the shelter, her new job, she was disgusted by the condition of
the over one hundred year old building and for a long time wouldn’t eat her lunch in the office. She would leave for lunch and when she would bring it back to eat, she would finish her lunch in her car. Ronna, who was like High Society, always dressed professional and was always immaculately groomed, was stuck working in an old, rundown building, she didn’t fit but she came in everyday and handled things with grace and poise.
The Riverside humane society was a no-kill animal shelter so Ronna set it up where I could visit all of the local Animal control facilities and take out and rescue the dogs and cats that were adoptable
The President on The Board of Directors for The Riverside Humane Society owned property in the Gavilan Hills part of Lake Mathews it had two houses, well maybe more like one and a half houses. The back house had several bedrooms with a swimming pool in the backyard and a small basketball court next to it. The half a house was in front of that house, the house had one large bedroom, a small bathroom, laundry room and a kitchen but what this house had attached to it were twenty three indoor, outdoor kennels. So now we had a safer place to take the rescued animals too. Rescued animals needed to be quarantined for at least four weeks and often longer and, now there would be a place that they could go that wouldn’t put the healthy animals at risk had the Humane Society. We decided that in this situation it would be necessary to hire someone to spend days with the animals, Ronna and I both thought that would work. I would drive out there a couple times a week to deliver new animals and oversee the happenings out there. It sounded good but it never really did, work out well. Every time I went out there something was wrong. On one day Ronna and I were out trying to think up a good solution and I said “I’d move out here. If you fence off that land for my horses”. Ronna couldn’t believe it and within the month I moved out to Lake Mathews.
Ronna included me in many things, she invited me to special events, the kind that seemed too fancy for me to be included in. I went because Ronna asked and I enjoyed watching how people would almost transform in her presence. Ronna made everyone feel like they were important and I just felt important being around her.
On July 9th I would be terribly and catastrophically injured. The only phone numbers that the emergency persons could find in my wallet was a small list I had of emergency numbers for the Humane Society and Ronna was at the top of that list. Ronna gave them my parent’s number and in the worse circumstance a friendship began.
In the small hours of July 10th Ronna arrived at the hospital where she sat with my parents thru the morning.
I don’t know how often Ronna came to visit me during my time in a coma but I would guess it to be more than any non-family member, she truly cared.
Ronna was a key player in the game after I got hurt. While I was lying helpless still in my coma she stepped in and allowed me to go somewhere safe. I was in my third month of being in a coma and at my second hospital when that hospital had a huge financial crisis. They were going into Bankruptcy and were bouncing paychecks. Many nurses just quit coming to work. I still wasn’t stable and in need of constant monitoring so my parents would have to go to the hospital just to make sure I was being cared for properly because some nurses weren’t showing up for work because their paychecks were bouncing.
It was down to just a few days from the hospital closing their doors forever and while most of the other patients in that hospital had already been relocated, the Insurance still didn’t have a place for me. My case worker told my parents where she was going to have me sent “whether you like it or not”, It was a hospital that was far away from where we live and that was unacceptable. Ronna heard and with one phone call my parents could now send me to the hospital that they chose.
As I slowly came out of the coma there were a lot of people that would come to visit me but by the time I was released to go home there was only a small handful of people left that still came to see me and Ronna was a constant but, during the eight months I was in the hospital Ronna invited me to every event that the Riverside Humane Society put on. Comedy night with Kevin Fitzgerald DVM and the Raccoon ball which was a pretty fancy event where I was honored for the things I did for the animals by receiving the Mutts award.
Ronna came to visit me often in the hospital, more than any other “friend”. My parents twentieth wedding Anniversary was in November of 2001 and because I was in the hospital their plans had to change; I had only been awake for a little over a month and I couldn’t talk yet but somehow I told Ronna that it was their wedding Anniversary and she set it up so they could have dinner at Dwayne’s steak house and gave them a night in the honeymoon suite at the beautiful Mission Inn.
When I came home, back to my parents’ house Ronna was there. She always made sure to invite me to a lot of the events that she would do. Ronna would come and take me out often, she always took me out to lunch and she would always ask if I wanted to go to a movie.
Ronna was a true friend, she was a great role model; she was the kind of person that you aspire to be more like. Every Christmas she invited an entire elementary school to a movie. Every single kid got popcorn, candy and a small drink and they watched the popular G or PG movie for that year.
Ronna wasn’t loud or obnoxious, she wasn’t a showoff or a name dropper and she knew a lot of people but she carried herself with dignity and grace thru everything. Ronna was a gift to me, I didn’t deserve her love or her friendship but, somehow I got it and I was honored and Blessed to know Ronna Lee Kadow for a too short eighteen years. I love you Ronna! Until we meet again you will remain in my heart and always on my mind. Happy Birthday!!! I love you!