Friday, July 22, 2011 12:00 AM

Community's 2011 'Ultimate' donors, doctors, volunteers honored

More than 350 people attended the “Ultimate Party” at Weber BMW in Fresno to celebrate Community Medical Centers’ “Ultimate People” of 2011. The event honored those who distinguished themselves with service to Community and its foundation.

Outgoing Community Medical Foundation board president Melissa DerManouel was recognized for 10 years of service to philanthropy for Community. “Her dedication will inspire us for years to come,” said Susan Abundis, chairwoman of the corporate board of trustees.

Honored as the 2011 the “Ultimate People” were:

Pete P. Peters
His brother Leon once told Pete Peters, “You can’t take everything out of the community without putting something back in.” And, Pete, now 94, certainly has lived up to that brotherly advice.

When asked how he felt about being named to Community’s “Ultimate People” for 2011, he said, "Thank you so much, I just love Community [Medical Centers] so much. I can't tell you how much this touches me."

The Peters’ name is synonymous with philanthropy and you can’t help but see it sprinkled throughout Community in a legacy that has over decades become a family affair. Pete P. Peters is at the helm as the patriarch of a family who has endeavored to help residents in our community by graciously leading and supporting major hospital initiatives.

From the Leon S. and Peter P. Peters Future Generations Center at Clovis Community Medical Center, to the burn and rehabilitation centers at Community Regional Medical Center, the name Peters will long be remembered for its generosity. Uncle Pete, as he is lovingly known around the hospital, has been an inspiration to so many with his “gifts from the heart” with no expectations of recognition or awards, said Rob Saroyan, vice president of fund development at Community and who has worked over the years with Pete.

“It’s not uncommon for him to ask about where the greatest need is and then help support that area with genuine concern,” he said.

Jim Christian and Jeff Kroeker – both successful businessmen with local construction companies who serve as Development Council co-chairs for Terry’s House -- were  recognized for their dedication, generosity and extraordinary efforts to build the best “home away from home” for families in need. The co-chairs recall incidents where friends or family needed to be close to their critically ill or injured loved one.

“That one phone call changes lives forever,” says Kroeker of getting that unexpected emergency call too many families have experienced. “They’re up there grieving and trying to cope and Terry’s House is just one less obstacle for them.”

Standing outside Terry’s House last January at its grand opening, Christian, listening to multiple sirens, was reminded how fast the unexpected can happen: “Those sirens never stop. That’s 24/7 in this vicinity and behind every siren there’s a tragic story for some family. That’s what this house needs to be here for.”

In the six months since Terry’s House has been open, 454 families have benefited from what these two worked so hard to build.

Dr. Michael Synn, medical director of Clovis Community Medical Center’s In Vitro Fertilization Embryology Laboratory and member of Community’s Board of Trustees was recognized for his passionate devotion to the successful expansion of the Clovis Community and constant focus on improving health care in the region.

“This honor is well-deserved,” said Craig Castro, Clovis Community’s chief executive officer. “Dr. Synn works tirelessly to support our monumental expansion, by talking with other doctors and with potential philanthropists about how this will benefit Valley families. He knows firsthand the pressures of growth in our region and the needs in health care resources.”

Dr. Synn is one of the region's leading specialists in gynecology and fertility. He is president of the Clovis-based medical staff and a UCSF Fresno academic program assistant clinical professor. In receiving his honor, Dr. Synn said “People should be impressed with the devotion and time and skill our people pour into caring for others. We work to make dreams come true.” 

Hope Donoho
Humble doesn’t begin to describe Hope Donoho. Her colleagues say she’s “professional,” “ethical”, and “simply the best.”

Those are just a few reasons why Donoho, executive assistant to Community’s chief executive officer, is being honored as one of Community’s “Ultimate People” for 2011.

“Community has been my home for the last 22 years, and the people here are like my family,” said Donoho. “I feel so honored to work in a place where everyone puts in 110 percent every day.”

Through the years, Donoho has upheld the qualities of a true professional and made it a point to help out wherever she’s needed – whether it’s always being one of the first to volunteer at Community events, through giving to Community through its foundation or being a great administrative leader to so many.

Her reaction when she learned she had been chosen as one of Community’s “Ultimate People” belies her kind and giving nature. “It came as a total shock to me. I look around and see so many that are deserving of the award,” Donoho said.

Dr. Kenneth O’Brien
A wealth of knowledge sits behind the information desk at Community Regional Medical Center. Dr. Kenneth O’Brien – retired doctor and active Community Regional volunteer for more than a decade – is a staple in the hospital. He answers questions, helps patients and their families find their way and assists whenever needed.

When asked how he felt about being named to “Ultimate People” for 2011, he said, “very humbled.” He choked back tears as he accepted the honor and said he counted all present as friends and thanked them for their support of the Community network.

During his 56 years of medical practice Dr. O’Brien served on the original Sequoia Hospital board of trustees and later the Sierra Hospital and Community boards for 43 years, before being awarded board emeritus status. It’s apparent the 91-year-old doctor believes in keeping busy. After retiring from medicine, he decided to stay involved by volunteering twice a week at Community Regional.

Dr. O'Brien has given both time and commitment to Community, and he hopes others will also be just as willing to lend a hand. "It's fun to serve and help other people," he said.

Communications staff reported this story. They can be reached at