20th Anniversary Story | Richard Cadiente: Marathon Man
Growing up, Richard Cadiente had no idea he would someday run a marathon.
“I grew up in a typical local household, except that it was on the grounds of the Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa, where my father was a supervisor,” recalls Richard. “No one in my family would ever think of doing something like running a marathon.”
But for Richard, the notion of getting in better shape was something that came to him after he was hired by UHA in 1999 as an accounting clerk. “Working here changed my whole idea of what a healthy lifestyle should look like. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who were putting in the time and effort to lose weight and get more fit.”
Even so, it took him a while to find the motivation to make a change in his personal habits. “For me it was more of a journey. For a long time, I didn’t really care—I just liked eating what I liked to eat.”
But when one of his good friends started losing weight, Richard became inspired to rise to the wellness challenge himself. His mom’s concern for his health and weight gain also gave him the push he needed. “When one of my coworkers here at UHA approached me about joining an exercise program they were putting together, I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’ I’ve dropped about 30 pounds since then, and yeah—I continue to enjoy working out!”
Going the distance is a lot easier when you have company along the way—especially when it's after work! Rich and a couple other UHA associates on a 4PM run.
Embracing his company’s commitment to employee wellness set into motion a positive feedback loop for Richard. “When I started to lose weight, I started feeling better about myself. I had more energy, and so I put that extra energy into being more active, which would make me feel even better. My ‘work family’ inspired me to try running the Honolulu Marathon. It took me seven hours to finish—not the greatest time in the world, but I’m really proud of what I accomplished.”
Before long, the inspiration of Richard’s example had spread to his actual family. “My sister and other siblings are trying to live a healthier lifestyle now, and I have cousins who work out all the time. It’s great to work for a company that actually tries to help people achieve more wellness in their lives, that encourages us to take this healthy lifestyle and spread it throughout the community.”
Rich and his parents visiting cousins and other extended family in Vegas.
Inspired by Family
Richard now serves as a Risk Management clerk at UHA, helping prepare quotes for employer groups that are looking at UHA for their employee health plan. “My goal here is to help take UHA to the next level, reaching out to more and more clients around the state, not just offering better insurance services but also helping people to live a healthier lifestyle.” The company culture is a big part of why he’s still here after more than 15 years. “My coworkers are pretty much like family to me. They inspire me a lot, and encourage me to stay with the company and help it grow.”
As for the Honolulu Marathon — will Richard make a repeat appearance? “Who knows? Now I know that anything’s possible.”
Then and now: Rich at a company picnic in 2011 (left), and 30 pounds lighter in 2013. (right)