Retired health inspector presented Order of the Long Leaf Pine award

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Retired Environmental Health Inspector Cindy Callahan has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina and is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Callahan began her career in Environmental Health (EH) in 1987 at the Macon County Health Department, now Macon County Public Health. During her employment with the local health department, her duties took her to many different establishments and venues. Callahan did site evaluations and final inspections for septic systems, inspected food and lodging establishments, nursing homes, hospitals, school lunchrooms, daycares, summer camps, swimming pools, tattoo parlors, took water samples, and investigated complaints. In 1995, she became the food and lodging program specialist and worked solely in the food, lodging and institution program. In 2003, she changed positions, becoming a Regional Environmental Health Specialist working for the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Health Section.  The Environmental Health Section was transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012.  In this position, Callahan covered a territory of 17 counties in western North Carolina, working with Environmental Health Specialists training and conducting inspections with, and authorizing interns. In April 2015, she became the Branch Head of the Food Protection and Facilities Branch for the State’s Environmental Health Section. She was responsible for piloting the overall direction of the Food Protection and Facilities Branch.  The Branch includes the Food Protection, Pools, Tattoos, and State Institutions, and Inspections, Statistics, and Fees. She was involved in program planning, administration, and implementation.  In addition, she oversaw 13 sections of administrative rules and recommended revisions as necessary and as required by law.  She also provided technical assistance and consultations and made decisions with respect to rule interpretations, policies, and position statements that are released by the Branch to Environmental Health Specialists throughout the state as well as to industry.     “I have many favorite memories working with the EH staff in Macon County,” she said.  “Being a local health inspector is never dull.  However, my favorite was serving as North Carolina’s voting delegate for the Conference for Food Protection.  This conference is where all the states vote on regulations that are adopted into the FDA Food Code.  The FDA Food Code is a unified code that most states use when regulating food establishments.” Callahan retired Dec. 31, 2017, after 31 years in Public Health. She was given The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award at her retirement party. “I was shocked and very happy. It is truly an honor to receive The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.  This is a very prestigious award and in order to receive it a person must have made significant contributions to the State of North Carolina and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments,” she said.  Now that she is retired, she is finding time to do the things she has always wanted to do. “I’m catching up at home since I spent the last three years in Raleigh.  I do plan to spend more time relaxing, traveling and doing the things I had no time for while I was working. I have discovered I love yoga and have been doing lots of it.”

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