Wednesday, March 23, 2011 2:00 AM

Alice A. Peters leaves generous legacy for rehabilitation center

The Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center, known for its expertise in helping those with spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries, will be able to add more specialized equipment and technology thanks to the estate of Alice A. Peters, wife of the center’s namesake.

The 32-bed inpatient rehabilitation center, part of Community Regional Medical Center, treated nearly 630 people last year, providing physical, occupational, recreational and speech-language therapy to patients recovering from trauma, burns or strokes. Therapists also use the latest equipment and specialized software for those recovering from heart and other surgeries.

Virginia O’Connell, director of rehabilitation at Community Regional, said she’s gathering a wish list from staff for the $100,000 donation. “It’s a wonderful gift and the Peters family has been so, so generous,” she said. “My goal is to do something with that kind of money that we couldn’t have done otherwise as a tribute to her – something really special. I’m looking at extra technology. There are so many new things out there to help spinal cord patients.”

Craig Apregan, Alice and Leon Peters’ nephew said the couple never had any children in their 41-year marriage, so they devoted their later years to giving back to the community.

“Our Aunt and Uncle truly loved Community Medical Centers and would be proud of how it has grown and expanded its service offerings to the Central Valley,” said Apregan. 

In passing, our Aunt wanted to provide additional support to the Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center to help ensure that our Community continues to have access to the most advanced rehabilitative tools, equipment and staff that are available."

Mrs. Peters passed away Jan. 24 at the age of 97. Rob Saroyan, vice president of Community’s Foundation, called her “an icon of philanthropy throughout our Valley especially to the hospital.”

O’Connell said she had the privilege of being Mrs. Peters' dinner partner one night. “She was just so delightful and down to earth. She said she and her husband worked hard and made good investments and felt fortunate to be able to pass it on to others to do some good.”

The Peters name appears many places in Community’s hospitals on departments and wings made possible by the foundation started by Leon S. Peters. Among them are the Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center and the Leon S. Peters Burn Center at Community Regional Medical Center, and the Leon S. & Pete P. Peters Future Generations Center at Clovis Community Medical Center.

Community’s Foundation has established the Alice A. Peters Memorial for those who wish to make a gift in Alice’s honor or to the Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center.

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at