Hospital Foundation: Gala benefiting Santa Paula Hospital shows strong support

December 19, 2008
Santa Paula News

Elvis was back in the building, along with county officials and other supporters of the Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation, for the “We’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You” holiday gala benefiting Santa Paula Hospital.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesElvis was back in the building, along with county officials and other supporters of the Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation, for the “We’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You” holiday gala benefiting Santa Paula Hospital. The December 5 celebration was held at the Oxnard Marriott Courtyard Hotel, where a Silent Auction offered everything from a Santa Sack to fine art to wine and gift baskets to an array of holiday decorations meant to be family heirlooms.The event, said SCVWF Executive Director Marsha Rae, is “a sell-out.... And we’re so gratified in these difficult economic times that people are willing to step forward and support the hospital as well as other foundation programs.”SCVWF Board President Martha Gentry of Fillmore agreed: “I’m delighted with the turnout, and it’s wonderful to honor our physicians,” especially those practicing at Santa Paula Hospital. “We hear rave reviews” from Fillmore residents about hospital services and staff, noted Gentry.Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, one of only three community hospitals in the state built entirely through community donations, abruptly closed in 2003 and filed for bankruptcy. The hospital campus was later purchased by the Ventura County Health Agency and reopened, not only bringing the “Hospital on the Hill” back to life, but again providing an emergency healthcare facility to the entire Santa Clara River Valley.“I’m so excited about Santa Paula Hospital and appreciate the strong support of the foundation,” said Supervisor Kathy Long. “The hospital has proven itself... and continues to build its success.”“I’m delighted with the crowd,” said SCVWF Board Director and event Chairman Jim Garfield. “A week and a half ago we had 95 reservations, but 164 tonight. And a lot of the people here are responsible for getting the hospital going again, as well as people like Martha Knight,” representing the hospital’s beginnings when her late husband Jim was its first administrator.“We’re building services, more surgeries, more deliveries,” said VCHCA Executive Director Michael Powers. “The hospital is way up on our projected patient days,” an orthopedic surgeon has joined hospital staff who “had 40 patients his first day,” and a general surgeon has “dedicated his practice to Santa Paula Hospital.”
Powers noted the hospital staff is “great, so dedicated to the community” that when a middle of the night emergency surgery was needed for a pregnant patient transported by ambulance, “they all came in, even the medical director came in. That’s what the hospital is there for... and it’s thriving.”Title Sponsor of the celebration was Limoneira Company, and Marketing Director John Chamberlain read a statement from out of country CEO/President Harold Edwards, whose father, Dr. Sam Edwards, guided the hospital’s reopening.“As we all know, Santa Paula Hospital is a great asset for our community and it was missed greatly,” read Chamberlain. “It is heartening to note that in light of our nation’s healthcare crisis, our Hospital on the Hill has been showing real progress.... We all know a strong community depends on a number of factors, jobs, housing, education, public safety, a healthy retail component, and people who care about each other.”Added Chamberlain, “We all care about Santa Paula Hospital, and we greatly appreciate the fine work being done by everyone in our healthcare system. All of us on the Limoneira team support our hospital... keep up the good work and thank you.”“I want to add my kudos,” said Santa Paula Police Chief Steve MacKinnon, who was also the celebration’s auctioneer. “We’ve established a great rapport with them... we’re very often up there with our pains and the pains of bad guys. It’s great to have the hospital open again.”The live auction had one surprise item: a chance to take part in a SPPD Special Response Team training exercise. “I am very, very proud of our SRT team,” which, when compared to other such groups MacKinnon has observed during his law enforcement career, has proven to be “the best!”When it came to the SRT auction item, he noted the successful bidder could “bring the kids, make it a family outing.... Grandma kicking in that door is a heck of a good time!”The auction was followed by Elvis, AKA Raymond Michael, who rocked and rolled - and caused a few females to swoon - as he paid loving tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in song and movement.

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