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Tonna O’Neill, left, the county’s public health nurse, and her predeecessor Kim Franchi.

Kim Franchi, the county’s public health nurse since 2013, retired on April 16.

In her time as public health nurse, Franchi ran maternal health programs, provided home visits and immunizations, and ran satellite clinics. Before retiring, she ran the county’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics. On her last day, she worked at a vaccination clinic in Montana City and celebrated with cupcakes and flowers. “I think we did 150-plus immunizations that day. It was exciting and fun.”

Looking back on her career, Franchi is proud to say she served her hometown. “I was born and raised here, and after traveling with my job — I was in the Air Force — it was really nice to come home and give back and work with people I knew. I feel very lucky that I had a position to work and give back to my community.”

Franchi, a Boulder resident, says that in her retirement she is looking forward to getting back in touch with friends, working on projects, and working with her horses. “I’m going to enjoy what I’ve worked for,” she said. But retirement, she admits, does not yet feel real to her: “It’s almost like I’m still on vacation.”

As for Tonna O’Neill, who has taken over as public health nurse, Franchi says she doesn’t have any tips for the experienced nurse other than, “enjoy the people you get to work with.”

O’Neill likewise is no stranger to Jefferson County. Also from Boulder, she previously worked as the county’s school and daycare nurse before moving to Bozeman for a time. When COVID emerged, she returned to work with the county Health Department. 

“Then Pam [Hanna] moved up to department supervisor and Kim was ready to retire — so everything just fell into place.” O’Neill will continue to run all existing programs and clinics, and said that she is most looking forward to the maternal health programs.

“It is so wonderful,” she said of the program, continuing, “Working here is just so wonderful. I know everyone — and all the people moving in, I get to know them.”

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