Text and Photos by Cheryl Levitan

 

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ince its inception in 1986, the Heritage Club has been one facet of Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation’s committed fundraising efforts in its role as philanthropic partner for the hospital. Raising $60 million since 1979, the foundation has assisted in acquiring the latest medical technology and equipment, allowing the community access to the highest level of care while still remaining close to home and family.

For years, the second Monday of September has been marked as the date for a magnificent evening and catered dinner under a starlit sky to express appreciation to the 450 Heritage Club members. The event recognizes those who have chosen to leave a legacy to the hospital as well as introducing new inductees who have honored the hospital with a bequest in their wills or as beneficiary of a trust or life insurance policy.

Time has seen this lovely event held at myriad locations throughout Visalia … but a restaurant parking lot is a first. COVID-19 has necessitated adaptations in all facets of life that we might have otherwise considered undoable, but the foundation did it, and did it with style.

After much planning (and graced by the generosity of community sponsors), volunteers supplied their packaging and organizational skills while Chef David Vartanian and staff prepared 141 impressive charcuteries, dinners and desserts (complete with wine or sparkling water). Eight volunteer drivers and foundation staff members then facilitated either the pickup or home delivery to a variety of locations, some as far away as Clovis. Whether greeted at the door of the Vintage Press or by “waiters” at homes, it was clear that the safe social interaction the evening provided was just as sought-after and appreciated as the delicious food and wine.

The evening could not have happened without the generosity of premier sponsor Wendy Little Properties; underwriters JD Heiskell, Valley Children’s Health Care, the Heinzen Group; sponsorships from Citizens Business Bank, Barron, Goddard & Ghattas (Wealth Management Group, Wells Fargo), Pigott Financial Group, Bastrire Edwards (CPA), Gene & Carol Nickel, the Cripps family (in memory of Thelma Venturella), and supporters Rauber Johnson & Black (attorneys at law) and Chuck Corley (Morgan Stanley).

Special thanks to the Vintage Press, which went above and beyond, as well as the foundation board, staff and volunteers who excelled in their roles as meal delivery “waiters.”

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