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2021 Donors of the Year – Jon & Jeanette Whorley – Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation

Jon and Jeanette Whorley

Interview with Jon and Jeanette Whorley

When did you first became involved with HH Hospital?

Shriner’s Club Screening Clinic starting in the mid to late 90’s. Later began donating to various hospital projects, starting with the new Emergency Room.

In what capacity?

Volunteer & Donor

What prompted you to get involved?

We were prompted to get involved through Jeanette’s parents, Elmo & Jean Davis, who were both actively involved with the hospital and were donors. Elmo and Jean participated in the weekly senior classes on Saturday mornings that the hospital used to hold. Jean was a Hospital Auxiliary volunteer. Elmo was also instrumental in setting up the annual Shriners Screening Clinic which was held at HHMH. The screening is free and is meant to identify children who can benefit from free medical care from the Shriners Hospital for Children. Elmo, Jean, and Jeanette all volunteered in some capacity at the screening clinic itself. Elmo made sure the kids who were accepted to the Shriners Hospital had a sponsoring Shriner to get them to Sacramento for free treatment. Jean as a hospital volunteer helped with the paperwork, and Jeanette helped translate.

Jon & Jeanette watched her parents donate over the years and were inspired by the building of the new ER to start donating themselves.

They spent a lot of time in the ER before Jeanette’s dad passed in 2001 and then again with her mom before she passed in 2015. The difference in ER experiences notably improved after the building of the new ER.

What memories do you have about your contributions to the hospital?

Jeanette thoroughly enjoyed getting to tour the new ER at the grand opening with her mom, especially getting to go up to the roof to see the helicopter pad. Jean later took a life flight from that same helicopter pad, a vantage point we had hoped never to see and had joked about at the time.

Jon and I really had a chance to see what our donations had done for that emergency room when my mom started to decline in 2014. We hope never to have to spend that much time in an emergency room again, but feel blessed to have had the HH staff take care of my mom. The ER doctors came to know her by name. Even if one of the doctors was leaving for the day as we came in, they would come over and check on her, and on us. They passed on relevant information to the staff on duty. We really felt cared for and that we were in good hands.

Tell me about your background

Jeanette and Jon have lived in Hollister for over 30 years, since 1985 and 1987 respectively. Jeanette moved to Hollister with her parents in 1985 while she was still in college. After graduating from Santa Clara University, Hollister became Jeanette’s permanent home. She is the Human Resources Manager for TriCal, Inc. a local agricultural company, where she has worked for the past 26 years. Jon came to Hollister in 1987 at the invitation of his Indiana University roommate who asked him to come out for a summer job. He is still working that “summer job” with his best friend and is now the Vice President of Cedar Valley Shingle Systems located here in Hollister.

Jon and Jeanette were married in Hollister in 1991 and raised their 2 daughters here. Their oldest Alexandra graduated from San Benito High, went on to attend Fresno State, and is currently a US Marine. Their youngest Katherine attended the Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) where she simultaneously earned her high school degree and her AA from Gavilan, then went on to earn a BA from UC Irvine.

In what ways has the HHMH changed since you were first involved?

When we first came to Hollister, Hazel Hawkins seemed small and rather antiquated. As we walk through different parts of the hospital now, we can see where so much of that has changed. I love that doctors in town can quickly access test and x-rays results electronically now, right from their office. I was amazed at the robot that came to my mom’s bedside, remotely linking in a tele-neurologist to assist with her care. This year I was astounded at the clarity of the images, thanks to digital mammography equipment.

Are there achievements or accomplishments happening at the hospital that you are proud to have been part of creating?

The Women’s Center. It’s so great to have these services in town and just walking into that building, you really feel how up-to-date those services are.

Is there anything you would like our event attendees to know about you, your contributions or your feelings about being part of HHMH?

Long-time community member Beverly Tobias told Jeanette many years ago, when our girls were still young, that the only way you can improve something is to be a part of it, not by walking away from it. We were speaking about the schools in Hollister at the time, but I think that premise applies to so much in our lives, including our community hospital.

That conversation really motivated Jeanette to be involved. Subsequently Jon & Jeanette have supported and volunteered in whatever activities their girls were involved with, including San Benito Aquatics, Rancho San Justo Middle School Band, San Benito High School Band, San Benito High Swim Team, and the Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) Parents Club. They continue to be active members of the Presbyterian Church in Hollister: Christ Fellowship.

Because of Jeanette’s parents’ involvement with the hospital, Hazel Hawkins Hospital became important to them as well. Something that has bothered Jeanette over the years is hearing someone say that they would never go to Hazel Hawkins for treatment. You can complain about how something works or you can stand up and do something about it. That is why we have chosen to support the hospital over the years. We want to see our community hospital continue to grow and improve so that people feel comfortable getting their services here in town; so that they want to stay, raise their children, and retire here. We know that it is through donations that the HHH Foundation is able to work towards meeting the health care needs of our community. We look forward to seeing their continuing progress each year.