Mark Twain Medical Center grant

Staff at Mark Twain Medical Center in San Andreas celebrate the annual community grant with a drive-through parade.

Dignity Health Mark Twain Medical Center in San Andreas has awarded more than $32,000 in grants to three organizations that serve the rural Mountain Ranch community, where people are still recovering from the devastating 2015 Butte Fire.

The three organizations designated to receive grant funding are the Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District, which has a fire station in Mountain Ranch; the Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center and Food Bank off Whiskey Slide Road; and the Mountain Ranch Community Center and Park. A facsimile grant total check was made out for $32,274.

Nicki Stevens, marketing and business development manager for Mark Twain Medical Center, shared photos of hospital staff lined up outside with signs to acknowledge and honor the grant recipients, who did a drive-by parade.

Stevens said the grant funding is intended to support unspecified outreach projects in the Mountain Ranch community.

Doug Archer, the hospital president and chief executive officer, said Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District, Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center and Food Bank and Mountain Ranch Community Center and Park will focus on “collaborative projects that will provide both continued and new access for the Mountain Ranch community.”

Stevens also said Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District, Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center and Food Bank and Mountain Ranch Community Center and Park are contributing to improving health vulnerabilities in Mountain Ranch.

Dignity Health Mark Twain Medical Center recently took part in a community health needs assessment, which identified four significant needs in rural Mountain Ranch: access to primary and specialty care; behavioral health; cardiovascular disease; and older adult health.

Lynn Darmsted, director of the Mountain Ranch food pantry and vice-president of the Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center, said the grant funding will help improve health and wellness for older adults in Mountain Ranch.

“This grant will allow us to provide higher quality food options provided by the Mountain Ranch Food Pantry,” Darmstadt said, as well as access to behavioral health services; increased availability of quality low cost meals served; and the use of technology to provide telemedicine for older adults in Mountain Ranch.

Steve Downing, manager of Mountain Ranch Community Park, and Lori Downing, events coordinator for Mountain Ranch Community Club, said they plan to use their share of grant funding for unspecified park improvements.

Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District staff plan to use their share of grant funding to purchase advanced emergency medical technician skill-materials; cardiopulmonary resuscitation mannequins;  and teaching materials for instructors and class participants.

“All of these materials will enable us to provide the highest level of basic life support care to our community,” Joanna Tedder with Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District said in a statement distributed by Dignity Health Mark Twain Medical Center. “We thank you again for the opportunity to better serve our community.”

The September 2015 Butte Fire burned 110 square miles, destroyed 877 structures, including more than 450 homes in the Mountain Ranch area, and contributed to the deaths of two residents. The fire consumed about 62 percent of the Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District’s coverage area.

The community of Mountain Ranch at the heart of the district suffered the majority of the losses, Stevens, Archer and Tedder said. Many damaged and destroyed homes were not insured and some residents are still living in temporary housing, more than five years after the Butte Fire.

Dignity Health Mark Twain Medical Center has awarded more than $440,000 has been awarded to Calaveras organizations through its community grants program, Stevens said.

Mark Twain Medical Center is a 25-bed, critical access hospital with five family medical locations, providing inpatient acute care, outpatient services and emergency services, with more than 300 employees. It is one of Calaveras County’s largest employers. Dignity Health is billed as the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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