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Hard work, trust and honesty go a long way – and for the late Gar and Esther Tootelian, it was a way of life. To honor the couple’s generous spirit of giving and their commitment to agriculture, the Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation was established in 2003.
“They were champions of agriculture and they appreciated others who shared their values and respect for agriculture,” said Karen Musson, daughter of Gar and Esther and partner for Gar Tootelian, Inc.
Born and raised in Fresno County, Gar and Esther founded Gar Tootelian, Inc., in 1949 – a crop protection retail business in Reedley, Calif. From the company's humble beginnings selling fertilizer outside a shed, the company grew into one of California’s oldest and largest independent agricultural chemical and fertilizer retailers.
“Although small in numbers, the agricultural community is comprised of incredibly generous people. Humbling is the only word that comes to mind in describing the generosity and trust they have shown,” said Musson.
Their farming business and foundation promote agriculture, provide educational opportunities for students and help organizations working to improve the lives of the local community and that includes healthcare needs. They raised more than $1 million for the Clovis Community Medical Center expansion and its emergency department through a successful matching challenge.
Musson said it was a natural fit for farmers, who raise food to keep Valley families healthy, to support a hospital system with the same goals.
The Tootelians, along with other donor-investors, continue to help Community meet the healthcare needs of the region. We are grateful for the present day champions and for the pioneering examples – Gar and Esther – simple people – whose legacy continues making a difference to so many.
“I know my parents would be proud of our efforts to bring great healthcare to the Valley and find honor in how their hard work continues to inspire dreams and a legacy that not only cultivated a business, but also a community,” said Musson.
If you would like to be a part of a gift matching challenge, like the Tootelian Foundation did in 2012, join the challenge from Dave and Anne Bush who will match any gift, up to $500,000 for pediatric and young adult burn care. Dave Bush is president and owner of David A. Bush Inc. – which operates Bush Construction in Hanford. Visit: www.youngburnsurvivors.com and your gift will make twice the impact.