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Grossmont Healthcare Safety Award Given To Monica Zech

Posted on 27 April 2007 by Monica Zech

News from the Grossmont Healthcare District

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, has honored five East County residents with a 2007 Healthcare Hero Award.

The honorees were recognized for their efforts to advance the delivery of quality healthcare by volunteering their time beyond normal job responsibilities, according to Bob Yarris, GHD board member who conceived the awards program and also serves on the board’s Public Relations & Outreach Committee, which coordinates the annual awards program.

“We are proud to honor these unsung healthcare heroes for their inspirational, extraordinary care and selfless dedication who go the extra mile in volunteer service,” said Yarris. “In measurable outcomes, their efforts have improved the quality of life for all East County residents, and for that we are very grateful.”

Among those receiving a Grossmont Healthcare District 2007 Healthcare Hero Award:

*Monica Zech of La Mesa extends her job as public information officer and safety educator for the City of El Cajon with frequent appearances to community groups during her off-hours; nights, weekends and even using her vacation days to lecture in the East County and throughout San Diego County. Monica lectures on injury prevention such as fire safety – traffic safety and disaster preparedness…”safety” is Monica’s passion!

East County residents were invited to submit names of possible award recipients and more than 40 nominations were received, according to Gloria Chadwick, GHD board member who serves as chair of the Public Relations & Outreach Committee.

“We were very impressed with every nominee, which made the selection process difficult and challenging,” Chadwick said. “We are looking forward to next year when we will again ask local residents for additional names of volunteers deserving this highly coveted recognition, as more people become aware of this annual awards program.”

Sponsors of the 2007 awards program included Grossmont Healthcare District, Sycuan Resort, Sharp Grossmont Hospital and SDG&E. Both award recipients and nominees were honored at a luncheon held on April 18, 2007, at Sycuan Resort. Carol LeBeau, KGTV-TV anchor and health reporter, served as emcee at the event.

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, serves as landlord of the hospital, including ownership of the property and buildings on behalf of local taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent nearly 500,000 people residing within the District’s 750 square miles in San Diego’s East County. In 1991, the District leased the hospital’s operation to Sharp HealthCare under a 30-year lease that runs through the year 2021. For more information about GHD, visit

Additional winners included:

*Dr. Bill Pogue of La Mesa, a radiologist who retired in 2001, is still making his rounds at Sharp Grossmont Hospital as a clown named “Dr. Poconose;”

*Kenneth Umbarger of Spring Valley, who survived a gasoline explosion that left him with severe burns, has been volunteering for the past 15 years at The Burn Institute, including as a counselor at Camp Beyond the Scars for young burn survivors;

*George Dillon of La Mesa has logged about 16,000 hours of volunteer service, consisting of about 20 hours per week, nearly every week, since 1984, at the Sharp Grossmont Hospital pharmacy; and,

*Mary Putnam of Jamul, a volunteer at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, serves in several capacities, including training nursery volunteers, sewing caps for infants and lap quilts for cancer patients and tending the garden at LakeView Home, a hospice house operated by Sharp Healthcare

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