The Morks – a couple with heart created the health heart program
With the recent dismissal of the Sonoma Valley Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program (Index-Tribune, Jan. 4, “Two large losses at Sonoma hospital” and “Senior wellness program,” Jan. 9), I (at 94 years of age) feel compelled to provide a brief history of how this program originally came about and why it is so important to our senior community.
In 1964, a wealthy, childless couple named Norman and Darrell Mork moved from Hillsborough and retired to Sonoma. The Morks were the first to inhabit the Temelec retirement area at its inception. They began voluntarily driving their neighbors to out-of-town medical appointments.
I met the Morks as an office/nurse assistant to the only internist in town, Dr. Cox. At that time, they were experiencing heart disease and had many friends with cardiac problems as well, so they willed their money to the American Heart Association. However, as they became more a part of the community here and dependent on the Sonoma hospital for their care, they changed their will to help the people of Sonoma directly.
The Morks donated the majority of their money, $800,000, to the Sonoma Valley Hospital (in todays money that would be approximately $2.3 million). In the late 1980s, the Morks donated $241,575 to establish the cardiac rehabilitation program. Other hospital programs, such as skilled nursing, ICU, emergency room, community and nursing education, also received significant contributions from the Morks.
Additionally, the Morks gave $10,000 to each of the following: Vintage House, Meals On Wheels, the Sonoma United Methodist Church, home Care Connection, Friends In Sonoma Helping and the visiting nurse’s service.
Because there is already a sufficient number of gymnasium/workout facilities for use by “well” people (including seniors), I do not understand eliminating the only cardiac rehabilitation program in Sonoma. The Morks would be most disheartened (no pun intended) to know what is happening.
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Jessie Barbour is a Sonoma resident.