2015 Nominees Section
Position: VP OC Hospice Executive Director Life & Hope Foundation
Organization: OC Hospice & Life & Hope Foundation
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
John is the Vice President of OC Hospice and the Executive Director of the Life and Hope Foundation.
As a Hospice Liaison he has met with hundreds of patients’ families to explain the benefits of hospice and get them started on service.
In that capacity, John has won several awards related to his being "Most Compassionate" with seniors and families, including many who are Veterans.
Why should this person be nominated
John Gutierrez was raised with 4 brothers and a sister. His Dad came to the U.S. from Mexico during the 1960s under a guest worker program known as The Bracero Program.
Growing up, John saw his Dad’s struggle as an immigrant, but he also saw how his hard work paid off as he transitioned from farm worker into landscaping.
Growing up in a tiny home surrounded by love, John shares, “It was small, but it was enough.”
His loving family learned to share things out of necessity, but this struggle created the desire for a better life. He says that his parents were such a wonderful example of hard work that he was determined to graduate from college and become a teacher.
Though they didn’t have much themselves, his parents had always taught their kids how to help people, to care for people and to reach out to others.
As a child, John attended the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana where he found not only a fun place to go but a supportive, encouraging environment in which to grow. This set the groundwork, along with his family experiences, for who John Gutierrez is today.
Though he originally wanted to be a teacher, he got a taste of the healthcare industry when he met his sister’s boss, a physician, who told him that he’d be good in healthcare because he had the necessary compassion. She taught him about the healthcare industry and provided an example of how to run a business.
Through his experience in healthcare, John has developed his passion to help people.
As John explains, “Half of me has always wanted to make a difference and help my community. But I also knew that I had to make a good enough living to really make a difference - to be financially stable enough to be able to help. Now I actually find that the more I help families – help people - I am also being blessed.”
His early healthcare career led him into hospice, where he met his business partner, Lyn Kennedy with whom he opened OC Hospice. Lyn shares his passion to bring the very best of care to those on hospice.
In addition, John recently fulfilled his dream of starting The Life and Hope Foundation to further support the hospice community.
He hopes that, one day, his foundation will lead to the ultimate dream of building a Life and Hope Center where people dealing with loss, grief and various tragedies can go to a therapeutic place to rebuild themselves…to recover.
John envisions it to be a special place where hospice patients, grieving families, those in need of solace, (including healthcare professionals who can become overwhelmed and consumed by the tragedies that surround them) can find an escape. The Center would offer that escape to get their minds off of the things that trouble them.
John says, “As a kid, the Boys and Girls Club was such a great place, where we never wanted to leave. This is what I want for the Life and Hope Center. I saw how much the Boys and Girls Club did for me and for the lives of many others. Now I just want to offer that back to the hospice care community.”
For now, on a much smaller scale, The Life and Hope Foundation provides resources and support to families by helping to pay for medications, adult diapers, funeral expenses, caregiving, etc.
John adds, “We also support Board and Cares to help fund housing needs for some of our patients. But it’s just the beginning…”
If all of this isn’t enough, John recently began reaching out to high school students through a government grant program designed to provide mentoring, support and guidance to at risk high school students to motivate them toward a better life.
Who better to do this than John! Now I am pleased to nominate him for this prestigious award, of which he is certainly more than deserving.