Grossmont Healthcare District honors its 2015 Healthcare Heroes

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Recognizing volunteers from East County and nominated by their peers, the Grossmont Healthcare District held its 9th Annual Healthcare Heroes Awards at the Steele Canyon Golf Club on May 20. Board of Directors President Robert “Bob” Ayers said that without the help of the dedicated volunteers displayed extraordinary care and selfless dedication, helping keep East County a healthier and better community.

Recognizing volunteers from East County and nominated by their peers, the Grossmont Healthcare District held its 9th Annual Healthcare Heroes Awards at the Steele Canyon Golf Club on May 20. Board of Directors President Robert “Bob” Ayers said that without the help of the dedicated volunteers displayed extraordinary care and selfless dedication, helping keep East County a healthier and better community.

Following a short video, “Films You Feel” by Louie Stevens and emceed my Bill Griffith, retired Channel 10 news anchor, the event highlighted the best and brightest with this year’s recipients.

Dr. Andrew Alongi is an active volunteer with Volunteers in Medicine, a non-profit that brings patients without healthcare together with medical professionals. From 2009 – 2013, he was actively involved serving as VIM medical director and still continues as a volunteer in an advisory capacity. He is also an active volunteer with the La Mesa Lions Club and involved in many service projects including scholarship programs for youth, youth camp, literacy programs, eyeglass collection, diabetes awareness, hearing screenings, global hunger and environmental and community health and cleanup.

Twins Anjelika and Veronika Cannon of El Cajon, seniors at Steele Canyon High School, hold nearly 1,500 volunteer hours at Grossmont Hospital. Adopted from an orphanage in Russia the day before 9/11, these young ladies are pillars in the youth community. Between the two of them at the hospital, they have jointly volunteered in the Women’s Center, Rehabilitation Unit, Pharmacy, and Medial Intensive Care Unit and more.

They take their volunteer efforts outside of Grossmont Hospital, participating in the American Heart Association’s San Diego Heart & Stroke Walk, aid in classes for students with disabilities, and spend summers volunteering at Camp Harmon.

Noah Homes’ Michael Dutcher began volunteering there in 2010, participating in many of the organizations health programs. At 79, he is very active in getting donated materials from retailers, escorts residents to events, assists with on-site activities and named Noah Homes Volunteer of the Year in 2014.

La Mesa’s retired teacher Richard Hard has logged in more than 4,500 hours at Grossmont Hospital over the past 11 years. Starting working with the Thrift Korral, he kept moving serving as chairman of the hospital’s blood drive. He served as president of the Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary from 2011/12 and during that time pledged $500,000 for medical equipment for the Heart and Vascular Center. Following this he began serving with two state organizations that represent more than 100,000 hospital volunteers.

Dr. David J Najafi, a vitroretinal surgeon in La Mesa has donated his time and expertise as a volunteer for Project Access San Diego. With this work he works with the underserved, helping to restore and preserve the eyesight of those in East County without insurance. As an organization, PASD has helped more than 2,900 uninsured patients since its conception in 2009 and Najafi is one of the program most active volunteers, known mostly for his compassionate communication style in speaking with patients and their vision loss. In addition, he teaches advanced surgical and medical treatment to students at UCSD and is active in many local and national organizations in his field of ophthalmology.

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