Since opening its new hospital two and a half years ago, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley has become the heartbeat of the community.

Recognized for all it provides to local residents, the hospital has been named Large Business of the Year for 2021 by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News.

"It was such welcomed news after the year it has been for everybody in the world, and especially our team here that has been on the frontline. It was so restorative to get that kind of feedback and validation that their work was seen and celebrated," Christina Scrivner, director of philanthropy for the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Foundation, said last week.

AHTV employs about 250 people, which includes hospital employees and contractors.

"Throughout the uncertainty of this COVID-19 pandemic, AHTV has continued to meet the needs of our community," Audrey Post wrote in her letter nominating the hospital for the recognition. "Local frontline heroes met this moment with courage and perseverance, caring for patients and even stepping in to provide moral and emotional support to patients being cared for with loved ones by their side."

During the last Christmas holiday season, AHTV hosted a drive-thru toy donation event, which benefited the Salvation Army.

"What was just precious is that they came in vans and SUVs, and they delivered the toys to us and they unloaded. It was so joyful, and so Christmas. It was amazing," said Sandy Chavez, Salvation Army director for Tehachapi, in a previous interview.

During the donation drive, the hospital collected more than $10,000 worth of toys.

In addition, AHTV donated an additional $20,000 to the Tehachapi Salvation Army, and the senior centers in Tehachapi, Boron, Mojave and California City.

Said Scrivner, "Right at the onset of the pandemic, we worked with our system partners to secure grant funding for our local, nonprofits that were on the ground doing a lot of critical work to keep people safe and healthy, such as our senior centers. All of these entities were providing food to people in need and that would be compounded by the virus... so we (knew) that it was important to brace ourselves and prepare so that people had what they needed."

In addition to its free flu and child immunization clinics, AHTV provided more than 5,000 free COVID-19 tests to the community.

"I think we are well positioned to support and help people in the community as we always do, but with the global awakening to the importance of health care and mitigating disease," Scrivner said. "With the immunization and the flu clinics, we are in a position to do what we always do, but never more important than this moment."

Scrivner went on to say that she thinks it is remarkable that the AHTV team was not only able to accommodate the coronavirus surge and patients inside the hospital, but also simultaneously met the needs of COVID-19 testing through the outdoor clinic.

"Not only was it a big task, but I have never been more proud to look around and see how our team rose to the occasion," she said.

For the past four years, AHTV has also supported local farmers while promoting healthy eating by being a presenting sponsor of the Farmers Market.

"As new president of Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, being awarded the Large Business of the Year was a great honor to start my new responsibility with this team and confirmation that our Tehachapi associates are 'Living the mission of Adventist Health' by living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope," said David Butler.

The recognition as the Large Business of the Year means a lot to the hospital's staff, according to Scrivner.

"I think it means that our desire to serve our patients has been seen and experienced by our community," she said. "That is what it is all about. We are here to serve and care for our folks in their time of need, and the fact that this honor was given to us at this time, shows that we were successful in quickly communicating our sincere desire to help our community."

All recipients of this year's annual awards will be recognized by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News at a later date, as coronavirus restrictions ease and allow for public gatherings.

"We are excited to honor Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley as Large Business of the Year. Their unwavering support of our community is such a blessing," said Ida Perkins, president of the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.