Star Hildabrand knows how much influence adults can have on children. It was her mother who inspired her to seek a career in health care.

So it is no surprise that Hildabrand is a big supporter of the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program, or that she chose to donate a $1,000 prize she won for her health care work to the Calaveras Mentoring Foundation.

“For her to step up publicly in support of the mentoring program like that will have an amazing ripple effect for us, because she is loved and respected by so many people,” said Kathryn Eustis, director

of mentor services for the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program. “This will make us want to work even harder to serve this community that Star loves so much and honor her faith in us.”

Hildabrand was one of a number of people honored Saturday night during the 2015 Golden Health Awards ceremony held in a ballroom at Kautz Ironstone Vineyards. Nearly 200 people attended the gala cohosted by the Mark Twain Health Care District and the Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation.

The night’s first and longest-tenured honoree was Robert Campana, who was awarded the 2015 Golden Health Lifetime Achievement Award. Campana served on Calaveras County’s health care district board for the past 33 years. Despite having no prior experience in the health care field when he joined the board in 1981, those who know his work said Campana did a stellar job.

“Bob has demonstrated extraordinary business practice and expertise that has resulted in a Mark Twain Medical Center that has grown to serve the entire community, and is still growing,” said Calaveras County Supervisor Cliff Edson before he presented Campana with the award.

The 85-year-old, who never needed to campaign to be elected, decided to step down late last year, and intends to enjoy retirement with his family.

Hildabrand, a physician’s assistant with Angels Camp Medical Center, was honored with the Healthcare Delivery Award.

“I feel like there are a lot of great providers at Mark Twain and in the community,” Hildabrand said. “And I think any achievement award doesn’t mean it’s just one person’s achievements, it’s a reflection of a foundation of a lot of people. So even though it was an award to me, I feel like it was a combination of people I work with.”

Hildabrand was initially inspired to become a nurse by her mother, who was a nurse. But she ultimately decided to instead be a physician’s assistant because she wanted to focus on patient education.

Hildabrand said it is that connection to patients that gives her the most satisfaction.

“Sometimes I’ll see patients in a follow-up, and I’ll say, ‘Hey, you lost 20 pounds,’ or, ‘Hey, you stopped smoking, how’d that happen?’ And they’ll say I was influential in some way, maybe a small way, but just by talking to people, I think I’ve helped in small ways, through teaching and support. I think I’ve been able to make a difference in people’s care, health and happiness,” Hildabrand said.

“Star is one of most selfless, hardworking people I’ve ever met. She’s extremely thorough and caring as a medical provider, and all her patients love her,” Eustis said.

Calaveras Youth Mentoring was one of five nonprofit organizations honored, alongside Sierra HOPE, Harmony Ranch, the Murphys Senior Center, and the Calaveras Volunteer Center. Each of the five groups received a $5,000 grant presented with the awards. However, Calaveras Youth Mentoring also was bestowed the grand award of a bonus $5,000.

And Hildabrand, who was given $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of her choosing as part of her award, elected to give her money to Calaveras Youth Mentoring. Hildabrand helped Eustis and others found the program in 2003.

Eustis said that Hildabrand and her husband hosted the program’s annual swim parties for several years.

“They attended all our field trips, made sure all the kids felt safe and valued, and helped create the family culture that the mentoring program is known for today,” Eustis said.

Contact Joe Klarer at joe@calaverasenterprise.com or 498.2076.

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