Monday, November 11, 2013 12:00 AM

Community's Ultimate People 2013

Going “above and beyond,” “talented,” “a heart for customer service” and “untiring volunteer efforts,” are just some words used to describe Community Medical Foundation's Ultimate People 2013. Each year, Community honors several Ultimate People who are committed to supporting the healthcare network, its mission and helping to create a culture of philanthropy. 

The awardees for 2013 are: Dr. Jeffrey Thomas, Dr. Gloria Jimenez, Hilda Herrera and the Clovis Community Medical Center Guild. Their tireless work will be recognized at a dinner in their honor.

Jeffrey Thomas, M.D.
According to his colleagues, Dr. Jeffrey Thomas is a special physician who really cares and wants to help his patients. He’s a man who has always gone above and beyond for patient quality and care.

A Fresno native who graduated from the UCSF OB/GYN training program in 2001, Dr. Thomas was a chief resident at University Medical Center during his residency and has been a leader in his profession ever since – from his time spent as president of medical staff to chairing the patient quality safety committee.

His colleagues say he's a respected leader with an ability to disarm others with humor and bring people together. “Dr. Thomas has been a model physician leader in a number of ways including leading philanthropic efforts by working with colleagues and staff in creating culture of philanthropy throughout Community’s network.

“Dr. Thomas’ superior skills have led to major gifts made by grateful patients and their families,” said Community Medical Foundation Vice President Rob Saroyan. Known for his caring, good-hearted nature, Dr. Thomas is well loved and respected by his staff, colleagues and patients. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Heidi, their three children and enjoys all of the outdoor activities that Fresno living affords.

Gloria Jimenez, M.D.
Dr. Gloria Jimenez works as a hospitalist at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital and shows her care daily for patients and those around her through her compassion  and commitment to others. Her co-workers say Dr. Jimenez is all heart and is constantly showing she cares by saying hello or offering a hug. Her warm personality shows through by how she treats her patients. They’re often surprised when she checks on them on her day off. Helping patients is what she does, and she always makes the extra effort to communicate with them. Whether it’s explaining what a hospitalist does or helping make a difficult circumstance a little easier to bear, she is always putting the patient first.

Dr. Jimenez grew up and went to medical school in Columbia, South America. She later came to the states to continue her medical career, and it was during her residency at Charles Drew UCLA School of Medicine where she decided to become a hospitalist. Dr. Jimenez is the lead physician of the Community Hospitalist Medical Group at Fresno Heart & Surgical and was elected for a second term as chair of medicine for the hospital.

“She has a way about her … she’s talented and has a softness about her,” says Cathy Hendrickson, Special Friends coordinator for the Foundation. “And Jimenez understands the importance of giving back.”

Hilda Herrera
If you’ve ever visited Community Regional Medical Center you might be surprised to see Hilda Herrera as you walk through the doors. Located front and center at the information desk, she’s always willing to help out, answer questions and treat you like part of the family. Working as an ambassador for Community Regional for five years and with Community for 13, she has shown her love for others and her job.

Colleagues say she always has a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She has a heart for customer service and loves being able to help patients and families. She learned this while working at her family’s tortilla shop. Herrera says, “It taught me the value of how to treat customers – with the utmost respect.”

Herrera continues to give back to Community through employee giving and is a role model for others. Besides her own family, she considers Community her work family. Her right hand man, Dr. Kenneth O’Brien, is no exception. Dr. O’Brien was honored as an Ultimate Person in 2011 and spoke highly of Herrera, exclaiming that, “It would take 10 pages to say all the wonderful things about her.”

Clovis Community Medical Center Guild
Making a tremendous contribution to the lives of Clovis residents, the Clovis Community Guild’s untiring volunteer efforts include a recent $250,000 pledge to benefit the more than 3,400 babies (and families) born in Clovis each year and marks the Guild at the highest giving level at the hospital. Since its beginnings in 1954, the Guild has never stopped supporting Clovis Community. Members volunteer countless hours – more than 2,500 hours a month – and work on special projects to help the medical center. The gift shop within the hospital is run strictly by the volunteers with no paid staff. Funds from it are donated back to the hospital.

Through the years, the Guild has given thousands of hours and contributions to help in areas such as the gift shop, expansion projects, cardiac catheterization lab, waiting rooms, new televisions for patient rooms – and most recently – the water fountain feature that welcomes guests to the new Clovis campus entrance.

Ginny Joslin reported this story. She can be reached at