Award For 'Healthcare Hero'

LA MESA -- La Mesa resident Richard Hart, a volunteer at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, was recently recognized with a Healthcare Hero award from the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD).

 Now in its ninth year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program that honors volunteers who help advance the delivery of quality healthcare in the East County region. GHD, a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, serves as landlord of Grossmont Hospital, including ownership of the property and buildings on behalf of East County taxpayers.

 Hart, shown above left in photo, was among a group of six individuals who recently received a 2015 Healthcare Hero award.

 “The purpose of these Healthcare Hero awards is to recognize volunteers whose unsung work in health care might not otherwise be recognized,” said Grossmont Healthcare District 2015 board president Bob Ayres, in photo above right. “This year’s group of honorees demonstrated extraordinary and inspirational care and selfless dedication that has played a critical role towards a healthier East County community.

 Hart has volunteered more than 4,500 hours at Grossmont Hospital during the past 11 years. The retired high school teacher -- he taught English and Social Studies at El Cajon Valley High School for 38 years -- served as president of the Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary in 2011 and 2012. He will forever be known as the Auxiliary’s first male president since the Auxiliary was founded in 1952, prior to the hospital’s opening in 1955.

 During Richard’s presidency, the Auxiliary board pledged $500,000 for medical equipment to be used inside the future Health and Vascular (H&V) Center. The 71,000-square-foot, three-story H&V Center building is currently under construction. The $60 million construction cost is being financed through Proposition G, a bond measure sponsored by the Grossmont Healthcare District. Prop. G was approved by East County voters on the June 2006 ballot. 

 His 38-year teaching career included five years under a federally funded program that focused on at-risk students. He also served for 25 years as the faculty chair of the school’s Social Science Dept. Following his retirement at the end of 2003, Hart began volunteering at the hospital in 2004.

 His first volunteer assignment with the Auxiliary was at the Thrift Korral, an offsite thrift store that sells new and gently used merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, housewares, books, collectable and furniture to benefit Auxiliary programs. The Auxiliary’s Thrift Korral is located in a retail center at 8693 Glen St., La Mesa.

 Between 2006 and 2014, he served as chairman of the hospital’s quarterly blood drive that benefits the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB), the primary supplier of blood to the majority of hospitals in San Diego County. Founded in 1950, SDBB serves hospitals in San Diego, Orange, Imperial and Los Angeles counties with blood transfusion products and reference laboratory services.

 Today, Hart, 72, serves on statewide committees with two organizations that represent more than 100,000 hospital volunteers in California. The organizations include the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (CAHHS) and California Hospital Association (CHA). He currently serves as 2015 chair of the CHA Committee on Volunteer Services. He also is a member of the CAHHS board representing San Diego and Imperial counties.

 His father, Benton Hart, also worked for the Grossmont Union High School District serving as Helix High School’s first principal from the first day of school in 1952 to 1975.

 Richard and wife April have lived in La Mesa for 50 years. They moved to La Mesa soon after their wedding in April 1964.

The Grossmont Healthcare District, formed in 1952 to build and operate the hospital, is governed by a five-member board of directors who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District's 750 square miles in San Diego's East County. For more information about GHD, visit

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Tags: District, Grossmont, Healthcare, Heroes


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