This is the first in a series of articles the Kern Valley Sun will publish with the Kern Valley Health District. In our first installment, we are featuring a profile of Fred Clark, current chairman of the board of directors at KVHD, president of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce and a local Farmers Insurance agent in the Kern River Valley.
After serving on the KVHD board of directors for the past two years, Clark was recently named as the board's chairman. We had a chance last week to discuss his service.
As the new chairman of the KVHD board, what is on your agenda?
I don't have a personal agenda. In my opinion, we have five of the best directors available within the board at this time. All of us work together. You have five different points of view, but we all tend to come to one conclusion on just about any subject. We have a fantastic group of people that work very strongly hand in hand for the benefit of our community along with KVHD, and that's what's important.
What are the health issues facing Kern Valley residents?
What we run into regularly in our valley is that we have a number of elder individuals who face challenges daily. One key item is finding transportation to and from their medical appointments, whether it be in the hospital, the clinic or off-site visits. The healthcare district had recently obtained a grant which has allowed KVHD to purchase a couple of transportation vehicles to assist those patients with their transportation needs to medical appointments. In the near future, those grants are set to expire. With that said, KVHD and our board are working on the necessary options to ensure that those transportation methods remain in place for patients in the KRV. It's critical for our valley residents to have this greatly needed service, and we want to make sure that does not go away.
How has your past business experience prepared you for your new role on the KVHD board?
When I first moved to the valley with my family, I did not know what I was going to do at that time. Ironically, Farmers Insurance came to me and said, "We want you to be a part of our team." So, I fell back on what I enjoyed doing, which is helping people. I want nothing more than to see everyone in this valley prosper and to see the valley grow.
What is your advice to the next generation about the value of leadership and volunteering?
Never forget the value of public engagement. I didn't understand it until I was in my 30s. When a lot of people volunteer, they ask, "What's in it for me?" But what's in it for you doesn't exist. When you're volunteering your time, you're volunteering your time for the benefit of other people and the betterment of the valley you call home.