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6:48 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Yavapai College Foundation honors Verde Valley Medical Center with Presidents' Award

Paula Rhoden/The Daily Courier<br>
Verde Valley Medical Center President Dr. James Bleicher Wednesday afternoon received the Yavapai College Foundation Presidents’ Award from YC President Dr. James Horton and YCF President Howard Moody.

Paula Rhoden/The Daily Courier<br> Verde Valley Medical Center President Dr. James Bleicher Wednesday afternoon received the Yavapai College Foundation Presidents’ Award from YC President Dr. James Horton and YCF President Howard Moody.

The Verde Valley Medical Center received the Yavapai College Foundation Presidents' Award June 9. YC President Dr. James Horton presented the award to VVMC President Dr. James Bleicher during the foundation's annual meeting.

During the past three years, VVMC has donated more than $600,000 to underwrite four YC nursing faculty members, and it has provided full-time coordination on its medical center staff for all YC nursing student clinical training needs.

"We simply could not provide this critical program in the Verde Valley without their leadership support," Horton said.

According to Horton, support from an Arizona Department of Commerce grant has allowed the college to triple enrollment in the nursing program in less than 10 years.

"Part of this growth included expanding the program to the Verde Valley, Cottonwood-Clarkdale campus. This expansion required major facility renovations, which we completed and are very proud of. Also, for this program to be successful, we needed a strong partnership commitment from VVMC and its affiliate, Northern Arizona Healthcare in Flagstaff. I am proud and grateful to say that we have received just that from VVMC," Horton said.

Bleicher is board-certified in internal medicine and holds a master of science degree in health care management from Harvard University in Boston, Mass. He has worked both clinically and in numerous healthcare leadership roles for more than 15 years.

Bleicher joined VVMC in 2007 to serve as vice president of medical affairs and he became president in 2009.

Yavapai College Foundation Executive Director Steve Walker presented the Spirit Award to "Mr. Roughrider" Tom Gammill.

Gammill became the voice of Yavapai Women's Basketball in 1992. "He is now widely recognized as the voice and official mascot of Yavapai athletics," Walker said. "It is something special to watch Mr. Roughrider, in his authentic RR uniform, leading cheers and ringing the cowbell at countless games each year."

Kristi Edwards received the YCF Benevolence Award.

Edwards joined the Arizona Community Foundation staff in March 1998, and she is retiring next month. She divides her time between her jobs as the affiliate advancement officer and director of the Yavapai County Community Foundation.

"During Kristi's tenure and under her leadership, YCF enjoyed an outstanding relationship with YCCF. YCCF donors have directed more than $200,000 to YCF for student scholarships alone in the last 10 years. In addition, we have won numerous ACF and YCCF competitive grants for college programs including nursing, the CNC machinist program and the Zaki Gordon Institute of Independent Filmmaking," Walker said.

Attorney Chuck Walker received the YCF Initiative Award. He is active in a variety of civic organization, including Kiwanis, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Red Cross, Junior Achievement and the YCF.

Walker was an adjunct instructor at YC. He was a member of the YCF board of directors from 2001-2008 and served as president from 2002-2004.

"Chuck and his wife Nancy established an endowed scholarship through YCF in honor of her parents, and the Howard and Marion Hahn Scholarship for Family Enrichment has been serving deserving students for years now," Walker said.

Each of the honorees received an original Bill Neeley hand-carved bird.