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Howard Memorial Celebrates 90 Years of Caring for the Community


Ninety-years ago, our Willits community came together after recognizing the need for a local hospital to keep this community thriving.  

Today, Adventist Health Howard Memorial has become a community treasure and has earned a reputation for quality care and patient experience scores that rival the best in the nation. With the theme, “Celebrating 90 Years of Trust, Family and Community”, the hospital is planning a series of events to celebrate this milestone.   

“We are grateful this community for making us who we are. We’ve come a long way from being a little hospital on the hill to a state of the art medical center. We owe much of our success to our community who continue to choose us to provide exceptional care for them. This truly is a celebration of not just the hospital and our 325 team members, but also for Willits as a whole, as together, we reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish together,” shares Jason Wells, Adventist Health Howard Memorial president.   

On the hospital’s actual opening day, May 18th, the community and everyone born at the hospital is invited to a birthday celebration. The “Born at Howard” event will bring together generations upon generations of babies born at the hospital in joyous celebration of birthing an era, a hospital and most importantly, a community.  

“This hospital means so much to so many people, for those who had babies born here, employees who have dedicated their lives caring for their neighbors here, to those who worked so hard to continue the original vision of our founders. This is a celebration of them, for them,” explains Arnie Mello, Frank R. Howard Foundation executive director.   

The “Born at Howard” babies’ reunion is open to the public and will be held on Friday, May 18 at 5:00 p.m. in the lawn across from the hospital. If you are a Howard baby or know someone who is, or need more details about the event, call 707-456-3591.  

As part of the anniversary festivities, the hospital is also launching a volunteer service program for its staff as a way of giving back to the community. “We have an amazing community and this is our way of saying thanks for their unwavering support. Our staff will give 90 hours of volunteer time to our local organizations starting April 1st to May 18th. The goal is to allow our staff to follow their passion while enhancing our sense of community and dedication,” explains Wells.  

Also part of the celebration is a student art competition to encourage children and young people to get involved and consider the impact the hospital has on the community. “We are connected to our community in so many ways. And we thought, what better way to recognize that connection than to have our students, the next generation of bright minds, to have a piece of themselves in this hospital and allow them to help us create healing spaces for our patients and staff,” explains, Linda Givens, chief nursing officer.  

For more information about the contest, contact Cici Winiger, communications manager at 707-456-3591. 

Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (now Adventist Health Howard Memorial) officially opened on May 18, 1928. The quest to establish a hospital in Northern Mendocino County began as a result of a heartbreaking accident. Frank R. 

Howard, Charles Howard’s son and owner of champion race horse, Seabiscuit, was critically injured in an auto accident on his father’s ranch just outside of Willits.  

Without immediate, close-by emergency care, tragically, the young man succumbed to his injuries. Young Frank’s father, a successful auto distributor, Charles Howard, along with the support of Dr. Raymond Babcock and a group of citizens, devised a plan to build a hospital in memory of Howard’s son. Believing that Frank would have survived the accident if a hospital had been in operation close by, the elder Howard pushed for construction to begin. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held during the 1927 Willits Frontier Days, a local rodeo celebration that continues today. The hospital officially opened a year later.  

The Frank R. Howard Foundation was established in 1987 as the owner of the hospital facility. In 1986, the hospital became part of Adventist Health through a lease agreement with the Howard Foundation. In October 2015, the hospital moved to its current location on 1 Marcela Drive.  


About Adventist Health Howard Memorial (formerly Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital) AHHM 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 32,900 includes more than 23,600 employees; nearly 5,000 medical staff physicians; and 4,350 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 260 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. In addition, the Adventist Health Plan serves patients in Kings County. 

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