Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation honors Blattner, Booker, Gibson

The annual Pulse Award, given each year by the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation, honors outstanding Sonoma Valley women who have made significant contributions to the community through their volunteerism, community involvement and philanthropy.

This year’s recipients, Kimberly Blattner, Ligia Booker and Pam Gibson, will be honored at the ninth annual Celebration of Women luncheon 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 22, at The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa.

Celebration of Women is an annual day of recognition and public tribute to honor the Pulse Award recipients in recognition of their outstanding support and service to the community of Sonoma. Past honorees include Julie Atwood, Kathy Benziger, Judith Bjorndal, MD, Suzanne Brangham, Valerie Brown, Phyllis Carter, Susan Chew, Karen Collins, Harriett Derwingson, Patti England, Helen Fernandez, Jean Hopeman, Marcia Levy, Yolanda Mangrum, DDS, Elsa Nelson, Marcia Nelson, Barbara Nobles, Valerie Pistole, Rose Mary Schmidt, Jean Arnold Sessions, Carolyn Stone and Tina Wolfenden.

Proceeds from the event benefit women’s health and wellness programs at Sonoma Valley Hospital, including funding mammograms for underinsured or uninsured women each May and October.

The event is sold out. For information or to make a donation in honor of any of the honorees, call 935-5412, email, or visit the foundation website online at

Blattner has lived in Sonoma since 1982 and was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Together with her husband, Simon Blattner, they have four children and six grandchildren.

Blattner graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree majoring in political science and earned a master’s in education at UC Davis. While at Stanford, she was captain of the women’s varsity swimming team. She has been very involved in community work both in San Francisco and Sonoma. Locally, Blattner has been involved with La Luz Center, NOCHE Committee (La Luz Annual Fundraiser) and the Development Committee. Additionally, she serves with the City of Sonoma, Community Services and Environment Commission; Sonoma Valley Fund; Sonoma Valley Museum of Art; and Impact100.

Born in Colombia to a large philanthropic family of strong faith, Ligia Perez Estrada came to the United States to study at the age of 17. Shortly after, when her mother died, she returned home to help care for her 10 younger siblings until an aunt arrived to assume the responsibilities. She returned to work in Bogota where she met Don Booker, a helicopter pilot. They married in 1961 and returned to the United States.

Li (as she is also known) and Don arrived in Sonoma with their five children in 1971. Settling in Sonoma included involvement in the public schools, FISH and the Catholic Church, all perfect grounds for an introduction to the life of immigrants separated by the barriers of culture and language, with much to offer but also with many needs. She knew right there and then there was much to be done and with the help of an incredibly generous community, La Luz was founded. When its doors opened in December of 1990 with an all-volunteer team, the support was overwhelming but so too were the needs.

Booker’s many honors for her contributions to the community include: “For Those Who Care” award from KRON TV; Sonoma Alcaldesa; “Woman of the Year” by the State of California; “Woman of Color Humanitarian Award”; honoree at the Red and White Ball; and the “Sonoma Amistad Award.” She shares La Luz’s great pride in receiving the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2013.

A sixth generation Californian, Gibson was born in the shadow of Mission San Juan Capistrano and grew up with a love of history. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Riverside, but after graduation continued to work in the newspaper business, a career she’d started right out of high school.

Moving back to Orange County, she went to work and also went back to school at night, eventually earning a master’s degree in public administration from California State, Long Beach. Her career in city government spanned the next 25 years and she retired in 2001 after being the first woman city manager in the cities of La Palma and Sonoma.

She was president of the Kiwanis Club, on the board of Vintage House, and on the steering committee for the Sonoma Plaza Foundation which for many years put on the Red & White Ball. After leaving the Vintage House board, she volunteered more than 1,000 hours to put together a new program to serve the senior community.

Since 2008, she has devoted much time and energy through leadership roles supporting the Sonoma Community Center and Sonoma Valley Hospital.

In her spare time she has published six books on San Juan Capistrano and Orange County History under the name Pamela Hallan-Gibson and is a frequent contributor to the Sonoma Index-Tribune and history publications.

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