The year was 1969. Richard Nixon was president. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Sesame Street debuted on television. And a young nurse named Naomi “Ginger” Stewart started work at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, a hospital that would eventually become Kindred Hospital Kansas City.

“I have fulfilled many lifelong dreams that would’ve appeared to be those of a dreamer,” Ginger said in a letter announcing her retirement after 44 years of service. “The most important one was my father and mother’s dream for me to become a ‘real nurse,’ though teaching was always in my heart.”

Ginger credits Kindred with allowing her to pursue that dream of teaching through a position as an adjunct nursing professor at Johnson County Community College.

Her own words sum up her experience best:

“…I was asked to take the position of nurse manager in the skilled nursing unit (I didn’t have a clue what a skilled nursing unit did…) however, you believed in me and our team eventually reached a deficiency-free status. As Director of Patient Care Services, you encouraged and supported me. I learned very quickly that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Kindred allowed me to fulfill my dream of teaching…without hesitation. As nursing supervisor for over 10 years, we may not have always agreed regarding decisions but you were fair, you listened and you respected my opinion, often changing or adjusting when possible.

Words cannot convey the many blessings that God has allowed through my employment to bring into my life and that of my family. The friendship [and] opportunities too numerous to count have brought many beautiful memories that will forever be in my heart.”

Kindred Healthcare thanks Ginger Stewart for nearly a half century of committed service and we wish her a long and fulfilling retirement.

Ginger Stewart early in her nursing career.Ginger Stewart at her retirement party.Ginger was recognized in a Kansas City publication as a healthcare hero.Ginger at her retirement party.