By Jordan Damond
May 23, 2017 (San Diego East County) -- The Grossmont Healthcare District presented the eleventh annual Healthcare Heroes award at the Steele Canyon Golf Club. The Healthcare Heroes award are meant to be given to the unrecognized volunteers who assist in health care in San Diego’s East Region community.
Barry Jantz, CEO of Grossmont Healthcare District, said that at nonprofits, clinics and other facilities “with volunteers, and there are thousands of them, they’re not getting any recognition.” He added, “These are our unsung heroes.”
This year’s honorees included a camp counselor with a big (and new) heart, a woman who drives seniors to doctor appointments, an 83-year-old man who remains at the bedside of dying hospital patients, a new U.S. citizen from Iraq who helps newly arriving refugees understand the U.S. healthcare system, and a 17-year-old who oversees other youth junior volunteers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
Retired newsman Bill Griffith from 10 News praised Grossmont Hospital for saving his daughter’s arm after an ATV accident and also praised volunteers, stating volunteers are unpaid “not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”
The honorees were recognized at a luncheon held at Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul, where recipients received crystal trophies as well as a gift certificates to a stay at the Viejas Casino and Resort’s hotel.
(Photo, right: Barry Jantz, CEO, Grossmont Healthcare District)
Below are details on these “healthcare heroes”, provided by the Grossmont Healthcare District:
Adam Beardsley, a fire prevention officer with the Chula Vista Fire Department, is a volunteer with the Burn Institute, a nonprofit health agency dedicated to reducing the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego and Imperial counties. He is dedicated to sharing fire and burn prevention messages to our community in an effort to keep everybody safe.
Jim Bull of Alpine is a volunteer with Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s “11th Hour” program, which was established in February 2010 to provide compassionate companionship to dying patients so that no one dies alone. “For a variety of reasons, sometimes there are no family members and friends available to provide companionship when a patient is actively dying,” said Jim. “I will simply sit at their bedside, I may talk to them or hold their hand, and I tell them who I am and they are not alone and they are absolutely safe...”
Lora Daines of La Mesa is a volunteer with ElderHelp of San Diego. Lora is part of ElderHelp’s Care Coordination program, formerly called the Concierge Club, which offers seniors a variety of services, including escorted transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, houses of worship, even the San Diego Center for the Blind, as well as check-in phone calls.
Dylan Mayorga of El Cajon is a senior at Granite Hills High School. The 17-year-old has clocked more than 615 hours of volunteer service at the hospital since joining the hospital’s Junior Volunteer program in October 2015. Dylan’s career goal to become a neurosurgeon is inspired by his late grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease. “I want to help discover a cure or, at least, find better treatment options for that awful disease...”
Mohammed Tuama, a refugee from Iraq since 2009, is the founder and CEO of the Newcomers Support & Development (NSD, (www.newcomersd.org), a non-profit organization in East County. NSD provides a variety of services to newly arriving Middle East refugees, including education and information about American culture involving healthcare. “...I saw an issue that was impacting our community and I decided to do something about it.”
If you want more information on each and every one of this year’s honorees you can go to grossmonthealthcare.org.