Our Voice: Generous couple earns Tri-Citian of the Year

Every spring when the Tri-Citian of the Year award is presented, it provides another opportunity to realize just how generous and dedicated people can be.

This year is no different.

The honor for 2015 goes to a husband and wife team who surpass the Rotary Club motto of “service above self.” They have been a dynamic force in the community for decades and together possess that wonderful combination of energetic spirit and thoughtful heart.

They are John and Priscilla Cadwell.

They received the award Thursday before a crowd of hundreds at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick and seemed genuinely taken by surprise. The Tri-Citian of the Year is a well-kept secret by the Tri-City Rotary Clubs that sponsor the event and this marks the 45th time the honor has been bestowed.

The Cadwells have helped others in big and small ways throughout their lives in the Tri-Cities, which began in 1979 when John moved his medical equipment company from Seattle to Kennewick. Cadwell Laboratories employs more than 100 people, including high school students and college interns and is recognized internationally.

John and Priscilla raised five children and participated in the traditional activities that parents often find themselves wrapped up in, such as Boy Scouts, the Richland PTO, Mid-Columbia Science Fair and other school- and church-related organizations and events, including helping with the Sausage Fest at Christ the King.

But beyond school, church and family, the Cadwells also have made significant contributions throughout the Mid-Columbia. When Trios Health kicked off a public fund-raising campaign last summer for advanced medical equipment at its new hospital, the Cadwells pledged $1 million. Priscilla has been involved with Trios Health since 2005 and has been heavily involved in the Trios Hospital Foundation. She also served on the board of Catholic Family & Child Services for several years.

The couple sponsor a hospital room in the pediatric ward and in the new neonatal intensive care unit at Kadlec Regional Medical Center. They also built and donated the Cadwell Student Center to the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, which provides an education for medical students in Eastern Washington.

College scholarships have been established in their name and they routinely support a whole host of community organizations such as the Academy of Children’s Theatre, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Badger Mountain, Grace Clinic, the American Red Cross, Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery and many, many others.

The selection criteria for the Tri-Citian of the Year award says, “The Tri-Citian of the Year ... contributes to positive community development and economic impact, causes broad positive impact to people, and improved quality of life in the Tri-Cities.”

The Cadwells fit that standard perfectly.