San Ysidro Health celebrates 'Founding Mother's' 100th birthday

Mrs. Carmen Martinez is the last living "founding mother" of the once-small community clinic in San Ysidro which evolved into the San Ysidro Health system. CBS8

San Ysidro Health celebrates 'Founding Mother's' 100th birthday

Author: Jesse Pagan

Published: 8:19 PM PDT September 25, 2023

Updated: 8:19 PM PDT September 25, 2023

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — San Ysidro Health celebrated the 100th birthday of its last living "founding mother," with a ceremony at the San Diego Country Club Monday afternoon.

Mrs. Carmen Martinez walked into the club with a smile on her face, to the cheers and applause of employees, community leaders, and more ready to celebrate her.

Mrs. Martinez is one of seven “founding mothers” of San Ysidro Health. In 1969, they banded together and advocated for healthcare for their kids and families, after the only doctor nearby in San Ysidro moved away. That advocacy led to the creation of a small casita, which eventually grew to become the San Ysidro Health system.

"It gives us a lot of pride to know that we're here because of her," San Ysidro Health Vice President of External Affairs Ana Melgoza said.

Today's ceremony coincided with SY Health's annual golf fundraiser. Several people talked about the growth of the health system, from its humble beginning to now serving 145,000 people at 50 locations throughout San Diego County. Many of those people are some of the most vulnerable-- children, seniors, and people battling chronic and severe illness.

"It's overwhelming, to tell you the truth," Mrs. Martinez's daughter, Magdalena Perez, said of the celebration and recognition for her mother. "We are very, very proud of her. I am personally and I know our family feels the same way."

Chula Vista Mayor John McCann, National City Mayor Ron Morrison, and other local and state leaders were at the celebration, awarding Mrs. Martinez with proclamations and certificates in recognition of her service to the community.

"She is an awesome example of true strength," Perez said.

San Ysidro Health celebrates 'Founding Mother's' 100th birthday

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