Friday, March 9, 2012 5:09 PM

A family challenges others to support hospital expansion

A few months ago during the holiday season, Clovis Community Medical Center got a huge surprise gift under its tree from Greg and Karen Musson, Linda Salwasser and local agriculture company – Gar Tootelian, Inc.

If there was a card attached, it might have read, “Here’s a challenge to double donations – from Gar Tootelian, Inc. – a family business.”

The 5-story bed tower at Clovis Community stands 90 feet high.

The big surprise? A $500,000 “matching challenge” to local farmers and families to support the Clovis Community expansion. The generous pledge of support is part of honoring Karen and Linda’s parents, Gar and Esther Tootelian, through Gar Tootelian Inc., the business their father started in 1949, which still carries his name.

Clovis Community – like Gar Tootelian Inc. – is locally owned and centered on serving the greater San Joaquin Valley with the highest quality of care.

“We’ve done this before,” said Karen. “Most people want to help and this matching gift either motivates them or gives them a way to do it.”

Karen said donors who know their gift means double the impact are more inclined to give.

“I like to see others participate … they’re usually very generous, especially when they have a reason like this.”

Greg agreed. The ability to join forces – especially those in agriculture – is a great idea and bigger than one person, he said.

“This expansion will drive jobs to the Valley and attract research to the area,” he said. “It will also bring the brightest minds to work here.”

The $500,000 matching gift has encouraged other donors to participate in the challenge including:

Aon Risk Services
Mrs. Susan Abundis & Mr. Glen Burgess
The Borba Families
Central Valley Farmers & Families
Donna & Paul Duckworth, Duckworth Family Trust
Mr. Benjamin Esteve
Ms. Linda Ewy
Fresno Equipment Company
Gar & Esther Tootelian Family Foundation
Dave & Susie Henderson, Henderson Architectural Group Inc.
Mr. John P. Larson
Schrack Drilling
Barbara & Carl Ueland, Actagro
Dick & Pat Wetnight

Salwasser and both Mussons said they appreciated the opportunity to be part of Clovis Community’s $300 million expansion to double in size and better serve the region.

“It’s a big commitment but we feel very fortunate to be a part of this … we love giving back,” Greg said.

To be a part of the challenge, go to

Mary Lisa Russell reported this story. She can be reached at