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SJCH Donates $2,500 to Olympic Wrestler Jake Varner

Philanthropy Olympic-bound local wrestler Jake Varner visited San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) on Friday morning, but not because he is ill or injured.

Varner made an appearance at a press conference held at the hospital and was presented with a check from SJCH in the amount of $2,500 toward his quest for a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this July.

“Jake is a real icon in this community,” said Bob Beehler, SJCH president/CEO. “We have a lot of confidence in him to do a great job at the Olympic Games and we’re thrilled to be able to help with that a little bit.”

Varner expressed his gratitude and thanked the community for their continued support. “I really appreciate this,” said Varner, when receiving the symbolic, over-sized check. “My family has always supported me, but so does this community.”

Varner’s immediate family – including his father, Steve Varner, a former wrestling coach at Bakersfield High School – was also in attendance. The hospital presented all of them with matching “SJCH Supports Jake Varner” sweatshirts.

SJCH’s Gift Gallery will also be selling Varner’s own Olympic T-shirts for $20 each, with all proceeds going toward the wrestler’s fundraising campaign. Donations can also be made online through PayPal on Varner’s website at

Varner graduated from Bakersfield High School in 2005, and during his time as a Driller, won the California State High School Wrestling Championship title twice. He then moved on to Iowa State with an athletic scholarship in wrestling. He concluded his final season as a Cyclone with a repeat NCAA 197-pound title. In total, Varner finished his career at Iowa State with a record of 121-10 and ended his senior year with an undefeated record of 31-0.

On April 24, Varner clinched a spot on the U.S. freestyle team during the Olympic Trials competition held in front of record crowds in Iowa City.