The San Diego County Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation recently honored Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder during the group’s first annual Support and Remember fundraising gala held at the Del Mar Country Club.
Van Gorder was the guest of honor at the Feb. 28 event, which recognized his outstanding leadership in the community as well as his benevolence and service following natural disasters and other catastrophes, such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.
“Chris is not only a terrific leader, but he has shown an incredible amount of compassion to our critically injured deputies and to the community through his dedication to public service and his humanitarian efforts worldwide,” said foundation President Matt Clay, who presented a special plaque to Van Gorder during the gala.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation was created in 2004 as the non-profit charitable foundation associated with the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County to provide support to widows and children of law enforcement personnel who die in the line of duty. The foundation now provides sickness and distress assistance to San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and their families who are in need of help, have medical needs that are not completely covered by health insurance, or have other emergencies.
“It was humbling to be recognized by an organization that supports law enforcement personnel and their families when they are most in need of our help,” Van Gorder said.
Prior to his career in health care, Van Gorder worked as a police officer and was seriously injured in 1978 while responding to a domestic disturbance and was hospitalized off and on for almost a year.
“That experience is a big reason why I support the Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation’s effort to raise money and awareness for injured deputies and police officers, and for the trauma their families experience,” he said. “All too often we read about an incident and soon forget about it. But in many cases, the injured officers or deputies live the rest of their lives with the injuries and trauma they sustained serving the public.
“And of course, some sadly give their lives in the line of duty, and we need to do all we can to support their surviving families,” he said.
Van Gorder serves as a reserve commander in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Unit, where he is the Search and Rescue commander. He is also a licensed emergency medical technician and instructor for the American Red Cross.
In 2012, he was named Volunteer of the Year by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for his Search and Rescue service.
As the leader of Scripps since 2000, Van Gorder has been instrumental in positioning the not-for-profit health system among the nation’s foremost health care institutions.
Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.