May 17, 2002

Neighborhood Healthcare Pace Maker Awards Dinner Raises $30,000 For Community Health Care and Health Education Programs

ESCONDIDO —More than 260 patrons dressed in festive Caribbean attire celebrated Neighborhood Healthcare’s fourth annual fundraising event, “Return to the Caribbean,” Saturday, May 4. The event provides Neighborhood Health-care with an annual opportunity to recognize and reward volunteers working in community healthcare.


Escondido resident and Pace Maker winner, Margaret Estrada, has been instrumental in making sure every child in Escondido has a library card. She was also recognized for her service to community healthcare. She receives a Pace Maker award from Lori Holt Pfeiler, Mayor of Escondido.

Proceeds from the auction event totaled $30,000 that will provide health care services and health promotion for those most in need in Inland North County communities. Neighborhood Healthcare (formerly Escondido Community Health Center) has six health care clinics in Escondido, Temecula and Pauma Valley.

The evening also presented the organization an opportunity to unveil its new corporate name, Neighborhood Healthcare. According to Tracy Ream, executive director, “Now that the organization has health centers in Pauma Valley, Escondido and Temecula, it seemed only fitting that a new name was created.”

The décor featured six life-sized sailboats, comprised of colorful fabric (pink, purple, blue, yellow and red) that hung from the ceiling of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido conference center ballroom.

To start the evening, patrons, dressed in casual island attire, were greeted with fancy island drinks and the music of Coconut Joe while they strolled through seven different areas packed with 50 items for the silent auction. A 24-foot sailboat anchored the entryway of the silent auction area.

Whimsical table decorations, which also served as auction items, featured large round fish bowls filled with sand, shells, colorful wooden fish and other nautical items, adding to the festive theme, “Return to the Caribbean.”

Award presentations followed the live auction. Lori Holt Pfeiler, Mayor of Escondido, emceed the Pace Maker awards presentations. Polished Glass awards were presented to:

 Riverside Pace Maker Community Service Award Winners:

 Mary Ann Porter, Medical Manager for Dr. Larry

Francis, OB-GYN practice for the last 14 years, also has an active volunteer life as a Rape Crisis Counselor and Advocate for the Riverside area Rape Crisis Center. She’s a volunteer coordinator for SAFE-T, the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Team, a member of the Professional Women’s Roundtable, an active member of the Rancho Community Church, and Executive Board Member for the Rancho Springs Auxiliary.

 Angela Loren, resident of Murrieta, is the Rancho

Springs Auxiliary President. The Auxiliary has been a great help to the medical community in Riverside County. Besides sponsoring Temecula Family Health Center they have sponsored a guide dog through the Guide Dogs of America, raised funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and contributed to the Murrieta Police Department’s Every 15-minute Program for eliminating high school drinking and driving.

Escondido Pace Maker Winners:

Volunteer Service Award: Margaret Estrada’s life has been focused on family, and community education and health. She entered a career of nursing while raising a family of four children. As her family expanded to 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren she still found time to serve the Escondido community as a Board Member for the Escon-dido Community Health Center. She also volunteers her time for the Escondido Library’s Las Embajadoras program, and was recently elected President of the Escondido Library Board of Directors.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Oliver Thomas’, M.D., hard work and dedication provided the growth and establishment of the Escondido Community Health Center. Dr. Thomas was born in the Midwest, and attended Stanford University where he received his Medical Degree. He served in the US Navy as a physician before moving to Escondido in 1956 to start a Family Practice. In 1968, along with another physician and registered nurse, Dr. Thomas helped establish the Escondido Community Health Center. In the beginning, the clinic was operated strictly by volunteers. Due to his dedicated service, the center has grown into an organization that provides healthcare for more than 35,000 patients. Dr. Thomas has served on the Board of Directors for ECHC for many years. He has also been an active member serving the Escondido YMCA.

Pauma Valley Pace Maker Award Winner:

Community Health Award: Wendell Smith, M.D., a Pauma Valley resident, was born and raised in the state of Vermont, and attended and graduated from the University of Vermont. Before moving to Pauma Valley in 1989, he was a surgeon for 30 years in Alderborough, Massachusetts. Since moving to the area, Dr. Smith has worked with the Escondido Community Health Center and a group of local Pauma Valley residents to establish the Mountain·Valleys Health Center in Pauma Valley. Dr. Smith is also involved with the Rotary Club and serves on the Foundation and Directors Board for Pomerado Hospital.

Business/Health Pace Maker Award Winner: Pfizer Inc.

Pfizer, Inc. has a philosophy of making a difference across the globe. The company began in 1849 by cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart as a chemical firm in Brooklyn, New York. Their first breakthrough came from a medical treatment, which turned out to be an immediate success. Within ten years the Company was manufacturing more than a dozen other chemicals and medicinal preparations.

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