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Recognizing Healthcare Heroes in the Community

Awards & Recognition

UKIAH, CA – Generously hosted by Brutocao Family Vineyards on the evening of November 12th, the 2015 Heroes in Healthcare event was designed to recognize healthcare professionals who have made a significant difference to others through their work and through their caring connections within the community.


After an introduction by master of ceremonies Paul Dolan and a welcoming by Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC) president and CEO Gwen Matthews, the 2015 Heroes in Healthcare presentation got down to the heart of the matter. 


Candice Gorbenko, RN, introduced by Dr. Robert Blackwelder, is an interaoperative surgical nurse, a woman behind the scenes. “Today’s surgical nurse is not about handing the doctor instruments,” said Blackwelder. “They are integral to the operation, to the doctor, and we are fortunate to have someone of her caliber and dedication.” Gorbenko was honored for 40 years of service as a RN and the many lives she touched


The Mendocino College Nursing Program was honored in the category of Community Partner. Jerry Chaney, board member of the Mendocino College Foundation, accepted the award on its behalf.


It was Chaney’s 20-year vision that eventually led to the fruition of the nursing program at the college in 2006. Two hundred nursing students have graduated from the program and in the last two years 100 percent of them have passed their exams. 


Dr. Marvin Trotter was honored for his community-wide philanthropy.  As physician, he had seen too many young people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse. 


Trotter, along with a group of physicians started Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah and funded the organization’s rent for the first two years; he also headed up a group of volunteers to help raise funds for the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center. He also donated funds to build an emergency department room at UVMC to be named in honor of his friend and mentor Dr. Gene Lapkass.


Sheriff Tom Allman made it clear he was accepting recognition on behalf of the Mendocino Partners Against Recidivism in the Mental Health Advocate category, asking all those involved to stand and share in the appreciation.


The group applied for a grant to build a new facility at the jail to improve services for the mentally ill.


Dr. Charlie Evans made the presentation and he and Allman credited the late Dr. Doug Rosoff as someone who inspired them to work harder, taught them that every person has a story to tell and understood the necessity of getting people appropriate care that benefits the individual and the community. 


Dr. Russ Hardy received recognition as Legacy Physician, with Dr. Jeremy Mann providing a biography focusing on his education at Williams College that was followed by research at the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center and Stanford University. 

Living in Ukiah with his family since 1994, Hardy talked about the importance of his team and in particular Maria Watson, oncology certified nurse who has been with him since the beginning.


 “All the presentations were personal and intimate. It was a very special evening; filled with gratitude and appreciation for those who serve our community,” says Allyne Brown, UVMC philanthropy director. “Those in attendance listened carefully, eager to hear what was being said, learning about their colleagues and what they have done to help those in our community. It was a tremendously moving experience.”

This special evening was made possible by generous sponsors:  verihealth, Realty World Selzer Realty, the Dolan Family, Pacific Redwood Medical Group and Savings Bank of Mendocino County.

--  UVMC  --

Ukiah Valley Medical Center is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 31,000 includes more than 22,350 employees; 4,800 medical staff physicians; and 3,850 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 275 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Adventist Health ranked #10 in Becker's list of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S. for 2015.  Visit  for more information.