Del Mar resident is named a `Healthcare Hero’

Del Mar resident Frank Ault has been selected for a 2013 Healthcare Hero award from the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD).

Ault, a Sempra Energy retiree and volunteer firefighter, is a volunteer with the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation. He has served as a member of the Fire Foundation for 21 of its 24 years in existence, and has served as chairman for the past 18 years. GHD said Ault has led the Foundation in nearly every aspect, from fundraising to operations to visionary planning.

The nonprofit Foundation funds the purchase of fire rescue and safety equipment and medical equipment, including medical supplies, used by 30 rural fire departments manned primarily by volunteer firefighters. Since its founding, the Fire Foundation has awarded $4 million in grants, a far cry from the $10,000 per year it awarded in its first five years.

Firefighters at these 30 volunteer fire stations, which serve more than 60 percent of San Diego County, respond to more than 6,000 emergencies annually. More than 80 percent of these emergency calls are medical related. Over the years, the equipment purchased by the Foundation has included tires for fire trucks, fire hoses, protective equipment, breathing apparatus and fire engines. Medical-related equipment has included supplies, automated electronic defibrillators, rope rescue systems, extrication equipment and auto-pulse CPR equipment. After the Cedar, Paradise and Otay wildfires in 2003 and the Harris, Witch Creek, Rice and Poomacho wildfires in 2007, the Foundation provided grants that repaired or replaced damaged equipment, and restored volunteer fire departments to pre-wildfire levels of preparedness.

After a 37-year career with SDG&E and Sempra Energy, Ault retired in 2006 as senior vice president and controller with Sempra Energy.

In addition to the Fire Foundation, Ault also volunteers as board chair of the Mt. Laguna Volunteer Fire Dept. He also is a 27-year volunteer with the San Diego Foundation, included serving as its board chairman and is on the board of the San Diego Foundation’s Disaster Fund. The Disaster Fund raised more than $12 million that assisted recovery efforts for communities impacted by the 2003 and 2007 wildfires.

Ault was among a group of six 2013 GHD Healthcare Hero award recipients, which included two physicians, a financial planner, community supporter and high school senior. Other recipients included Philip Bresnick of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connie Napierskie Conard of Grossmont Hospital Foundation and Friends of Vista Hill, Dr. Susan Kaweski of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, Dr.  Ernest Shaw of the La Mesa Lions Club and Chase Whittaker, a student at West Hills High School in Santee and a junior volunteer at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.

Now in its seventh year, GHD’s Healthcare Hero awards program recognizes and rewards front-line volunteers for significant contributions to healthcare in San Diego’s East County region. The awards were presented on a luncheon held on Wednesday, May 15, at Sycuan Resort in El Cajon.

The Grossmont Healthcare District is a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region. Formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, GHD serves as landlord for the property and buildings on behalf of East County taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District’s 750 square miles in San Diego’s East County. Sharp HealthCare manages and has operational responsibility of the 540-bed hospital under a 30-year lease that was executed with the District in 1991. For more information, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.

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