Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

Pratibha Seth Honored with Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award for Compassionate Care

Cynthia Adair - Monday, April 14, 2014

Pratibha Seth, a nurse on the orthopedic floor at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, is our April recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

Working the night shift at St. Joseph Hospital, Pratibha can be found carefully checking on her patients, ensuring they’re receiving the care they need. After 15 years as a nurse, Pratibha draws inspiration from her experiences, which is apparent in the conscientious care she gives each patient.

“As the nighttime nurse, Pratibha approaches her responsibilities with the utmost compassion and concern,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “She is a blessing and an angel of mercy to anyone suffering and in need of a gentle soul.”

Nearly 20 years ago, Pratibha journeyed to the United States from India to be with her husband, leaving her parents and her familiar surroundings behind. While still in India, her father, a heart patient, had received compassionate care and inspired Pratibha’s own career path. Pratibha enrolled at Santa Ana College to pursue a career as a nurse. Soon after, tragedy struck Pratibha’s family -- her mother died suddenly from a heart attack, giving her even more motivation to pursue her career goal. She wanted to provide her patients with the care she was unable to give her mother.

As a nurse, Pratibha is required to care for the general well-being of patients, but she often goes above and beyond her duties. If a patient seems emotionally distraught, Pratibha takes the time to sit and talk until he or she feels better. A mother of two daughters – including the eldest daughter who is following in her footsteps as a nurse -- the Anaheim resident says she treats each patient the way she would her own family.

“I never would have expected to be honored for doing my job,” commented Pratibha. “I try to give my patients whatever I have – my emotions and my best care.”

Pratibha will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation in her honor to her selected charity, the Boys Town organization.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Ginger Thomas Honored with Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Award

Cynthia Adair - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ginger Thomas, Senior Living Advisor at A Plan For Senior Care, is our March recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

When her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ginger worked with her family to place her grandmother in a home. Throughout that emotionally difficult process, Ginger discovered her passion for working with seniors. Now, she helps families daily find personalized care for their loved ones.

“Ginger’s passion for senior care is evident in the work she does,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “She cares about her community and is utilizing both her personal and professional experience to be an invaluable resource to those in need.”

Her career choice was motivated by her mother, El Joan Shealor, who worked as an RN for many years, and became convinced that while most nurses can be good at their jobs, those who truly are great are innately compassionate.  Feeling her daughter was born with significant empathy, El Joan encouraged Ginger early in life to consider a career in the care industry.

“It means so much to be recognized for something I love to do,” explained Ginger. “When I was referred to the senior care industry, I was drawn to the seniors and their stories; I don’t want them to be forgotten or misplaced.”

As a Senior Living Advisor, Ginger works directly with families as a resource in finding the right care for their loved ones. After interviewing a new family, Ginger considers the patient’s finances, current living situation and medical needs in order to provide a complete care plan. In matching seniors with care facilities, her main focus is ensuring each patient’s individual needs, as well as those of his or her family, will be personally addressed. This gives her ample opportunities to place more seniors in the compassionate hands of those who will provide them with the care they genuinely need and deserve.

Ginger will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to the American Heart Association in Ginger’s honor.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Fairhaven President Marla Noel Honored at Age Well Senior Services’ Captain’s Ball Gala

Cynthia Adair - Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary is proud to announce that company president Marla Noel has been honored by Age Well Senior Services. The honor, recognizing Marla’s many contributions to the senior-care nonprofit through her work at Fairhaven and with the O. L. Halsell Foundation, was bestowed at the organization’s 14th annual Captain’s Ball fundraising gala on Saturday, March 1, at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel.

Marla accepted her award from Doug Zielasko, president of Age Well; Dr. Marilyn Ditty, CEO of Age Well; and Dr. Bart Asner of Monarch Healthcare, who sponsored the event. The night’s other awards went to Edwards Lifesciences and to Steve Geidt, CEO of Saddleback Hospital.

“It is wonderful to be recognized by Age Well alongside such an esteemed group of honorees, all working toward improving the quality of life for Orange County seniors,” said Marla. “Through a multitude of services that provide hope and wellbeing for seniors and their families, Age Well is a nonprofit I am proud to support.”

An experienced CPA with an MBA from Chapman University, Marla joined the Fairhaven family 19 years ago, and her continuing involvement in community organizations has grown and enhanced Fairhaven’s longstanding reputation. Along with her involvement with Age Well, Marla serves as the vice president of the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana, acts as the treasurer of the board of Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County and is a member of Woman Sage and the Irvine Rotary Club. She also established the youth-oriented Mortuary Explorer’s Club for young people interested in the industry.

Micki Souter Honored with Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Award

Cynthia Adair - Monday, February 24, 2014

Micki Souter, volunteer at Silverado Hospice in Anaheim, is our February recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

After hospice workers provided the comfort and care she needed in her husband’s final hours, Micki discovered the perfect outlet for channeling her inherent love and compassion. As a devoted volunteer at Silverado Hospice, Micki’s genuinely warm heart has touched the lives of everyone she encounters—patients, families and coworkers alike.

“Micki’s cheerful optimism is a much-needed ray of sunshine in the lives of patients and families,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her joyful presence is often all it takes to reduce the emotional stress taking a toll on their daily lives.”

For the past three years, Micki has gone above and beyond in her volunteering at Silverado. Although she assists patients wherever she’s needed, Micki focuses her attention on one patient at a time, allowing her to develop relationships with patients and their families on a deeply personal level. She prefers working with Silverado patients receiving at-home care, because she believes the familiar environment is more relaxing for everyone involved.

“Micki is a volunteer extraordinaire. She goes above and beyond the responsibilities and requests of a hospice volunteer,” explained Julie Bynon, volunteer coordinator at Silverado. “She is kind, gentle and comforting to our patients and their families.”

For many hours a day—sometimes as many as nine hours at a time—Micki is at the patient’s side, feeding, conversing, and caring for his or her needs. It’s all part of her personal belief that no matter their condition or illness, patients must always be respected as people. When a patient passes, Micki stays in touch with the family, visiting them, bringing them food, and providing continued comfort.

“I’m just grateful to be the caregiver, not the person receiving it,” said Micki. “To me, caring is all about being there, being honest, holding hands and really listening. And laughter is very important: we have to focus on how lucky and blessed we are. I’m just honored to do it, and the patients and families appreciate it. It feels nice to know other people appreciate it, too.”

It’s no surprise that Micki fills every ounce of her life with love. She enjoys spending time with her family—especially her five grandchildren— and best friends and her boxer dog, and goes out of her way to support everyone, from attending school plays to providing company during chemo treatments.

Micki will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local caregiving community.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

David Nakashima Honored as the January Recipient of Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Award for Selfless Work with OC Hospice

Cynthia Adair - Thursday, January 30, 2014

David Nakashima, OC Hospice volunteer, is our January recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

When David finally found the time to pursue his desire to volunteer with hospice patients, he discovered a surprisingly fulfilling new outreach. His presence at OC Hospice in Tustin has brought a great deal of comfort not only to the patients and their families but also to David himself.

“Hospice caregivers are oftentimes overwhelmed and in desperate need of help with providing care and instilling positivity and peace in those struggling,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “David’s dedication to OC Hospice’s patients and their families during such harrowing times is a blessing.”

As a volunteer at OC Hospice, David visits patients during his free time. Occasionally he sits with them, talking and listening, reading aloud, assisting with needs, playing games, reading bible verses—anything to make their lives more enjoyable. David goes above and beyond what is expected from a volunteer, including engaging with patients who do not have an assigned volunteer and following up with support to family members after a loved one has passed. In addition, he accepted the role of project manager for the 2013 Adopt A Senior Holiday Angel program.

“I simply want the people who I encounter to know that someone cares about them,” said David. “I want their families to know that there is someone else out there who is willing to help watch over their loved ones. I cannot help every ailing patient, but I know that I can help some of them.”

David also works full-time at The Walt Disney Company in Anaheim, where he is involved with the corporate VoluntEAR program. Through this program, he has participated in various local charity events such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Light The Night Walk. In addition to his passion for spending time with patients and families, David enjoys traveling and following college sports.

“It motivates me each morning to know that I may make a difference in someone’s life or make them smile and laugh,” David expressed. “I am very appreciative to have been given an award for something that I love to do.”

David will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local caregiving community.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

Always in Our Hearts

Cynthia Adair - Friday, December 13, 2013

Always in Our Hearts…

For the past two evenings Fairhaven held their annual holiday memorial service, Always in Our Hearts, a remembrance program dedicated to families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Every year we invite all our families to join us at this special service for a time of reflection to honor and cherish those they love. It is also an opportunity to connect with others who experienced a loss and understand that the holidays can be a difficult time for the bereaved.

“Isn’t it sad?" a friend asked me. 

Yes, the reason people attend is sad because it means they have lost someone they loved. However, the event itself is not sad, but touching and festive. It brings our emotions to the fore when we watch an entire family, a spouse, or a group of friends stand as they hear the name of their loved one read aloud. It  creates a sense of community rather than the loneliness that usually accompanies grief when the attendees watch the photo montage and see the pictures of those who are missed but never forgotten.  I think the bereaved find it encouraging to be reminded that they are not alone, that others have lost loved ones too and are facing the holiday without that special someone.

Randy Hill delivered a wonderful talk on having “Hope for the Holidays”, reminding us that even though the holidays can be sad after a loss, there is always something to celebrate. The names of the loved ones that people came to honor were read and a member of their family came forward to accept a memorial ornament. The program concluded with the singing of holiday songs, lead by guitarist Tim Ringgold. “Joy to the World” was the last song of the evening.

Our goal is to give each visitor a special time and place where they can find comfort and support. And so, my answer to my friend was, "No, it is not a sad event. It is filled with compassion and hope and is an evening to remember those who will be Always in Our Hearts."

Pastor Randy Hill concluded the evening with the poem "My First Christmas in Heaven" by Wanda Bencke.

I see the countless Christmas Trees around the world below
with tiny lights like Heaven's Stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular please wipe away that tear
for I am spending Christ with God this year.

I hear the many Christmas Songs that people hold so dear
but the sound of music can't compare with the Christmas Choir up here.
I have no words to tell you of the joy their voices bring
for it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me.
I see the pain inside your heart, but I am not so far away.
We are really not apart. So, be happy for me loved ones.
You know I hold you dear. Be glad I am spending Christmas
with God this year. I send you a special gift
from my heavenly home above. I send you each a memory of my undying love.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I am spending Christmas with God this year.

~ by Wanda Bencke
© Copyright 1999



Day of the Dead Celebration Coming!

Charity Gallardo - Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary will host its Dia de los Muertos Service this Saturday, November 2nd at 4:00 pm at the North Gardens Pavilion.

Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) is a celebration of the lives of those who have passed, honoring the dead with art, music, altars, and plenty of smiles. It is held on the 2nd of November when tradition says the souls of departed loved ones return to partake of the offerings (flowers, candles, food and drink) set out for them on ofrendas by families and friends. The Day of the Dead is considered a day of celebration, instead of mourning. 

Unlike, Halloween, there’s nothing ghoulish or macabre about this holiday. It is, above all, a thanksgiving of family ties and togetherness, as well as an experience of the seamless continuity of life and death. Often families spend the entire night together, enjoying their loved ones’ favorite foods and drinks and most importantly, remembering.

We look forward to many of our families joining us for this event. Our Remembrance and Celebration will include a memorial service conducted by Deacon Jerry de Santos & Deacon Gallardo from Our Lady of Pillar Catholic Church,  ofrendas, live music, and no Dia de los Muertos celebration is complete without the sharing of pan de muerto. Come join us on this memorable occasion to celebrate those we have lost and will never be forgotten.


Fairhaven Gets Involved!

Charity Gallardo - Monday, October 28, 2013

Fairhaven staff are not only committed to their jobs but to their community and worthwhile causes as well! In this collection of photos you'll see just how dedicated they are!

Fairhaven's Annual Flashlight Cemetery Tour



On the evening of October 24, 2013 Fairhaven hosted approximately 200 Explorers and other Youth Groups for a tour of Fairhaven Memorial Park by flashlight. This is an annual event with Explorer Clubs from all over the county who come, possibly thinking they may see ghosts. Instead, they learn a lot about the history of Orange County, since most of the Orange County Pioneers are buried at Fairhaven. Ruth Velez, from Fairhaven, gave the students some history of the park, to add to what the students learn about the famous people interred at Fairhaven. Lane Calvert, Director of High School Youth Programs for the Orange County Boy Scout Council and Past District Governor for the Orange County Rotary Club talked to the students about Exploring opportunities in the County. Staff  (from left to right - Floral Manager Edel Cabrera, Network Administrator Charity Gallardo and Service Director Gerald Ford) volunteered to conduct tours, give out cookies, hand out flashlights, and direct traffic.

Alzheimer's Walk at the District in Tustin


On Saturday morning October 26, the Fairhaven Family joined together to walk for the World without Alzheimer's. We had a table with candy and some gifts for some who came by (staff from left to right - Floral Manager Edel Cabrera, Family Service Counselor George Lopez, Family Mortuary Counselor Elizabeth Torres, Public Relations staff Sarah Yi, Fairhaven Memorial Services Counselor Jennette Sullivan and President Marla Noel) and enjoyed the walk around the District to support the cause. The Fairhaven Family raised over $3,000, and had fun walking as well. This is truly a family event, because it is a significant family concern for many of us. In one of the photos, where you see people holding flowers in the air, the flowers represented everyone who has been directly affected by this horrible disease. It was an impressive sight. 

President Marla Noel said, "I am proud that we had so many of the Fairhaven Family supporting such a significant cause."



Juvenile Diabetes Walk

The gathering was in support of author of the book The Savvy Diabetic, A Survival Guide. JoAnne Luafer Milo wrote from her heart, to help others who are plagued with this disease. The Irvine Rotary Club was there for her as well as many family and friends. "Despite this disease, JoAnne is one of the most upbeat people I know," professes Fairhaven President Marla Noel.

Caring for the Caregiver

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today, Fairhaven Memorial Park hosted our 3rd annual "Caring for the Caregiver" cruise event. Professional caregivers from all over Orange County joined us on The Ambassador as we cruised Newport Harbor for an afternoon of education, relaxation, and fun.

We had two wonderful presentations, the first by Tim Ringgold, a certified music therapist who explained "How to De-Stress with Music and How it Works" and by Fairhaven's own Marla Noel and Ruth Velez who presented on "Stress Management for Caregivers".

Over 50 attendees enjoyed earning continuing education credits while spending a beautiful Southern California day aboard a Pacific Avalon yacht.

The "Caring for the Caregiver" event is just one way Fairhaven partners with professional caregivers in the community to show our commitment to serving the families of Orange County before, during and after death.

Offering continuing education through special events like yesterday's cruise or our "Community Connections" classes are just a few ways we support caregivers and those within their care.

For more information, please visit us at www.fairhavenmemorial.com and like us on facebook.

OC Walk to Remember Co-Founder Kristyn von Rotz Honored with Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

Charity Gallardo - Monday, August 19, 2013

Kristyn von Rotz, co-founder of nonprofit organization OC Walk to Remember, is our August recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For Kristyn, offering families support after the loss of a child is an immense objective in her life. The Orange-based freelance writer and full-time mother of three (four including her ‘angel’ Joseph whom she lost at birth in 2004) dedicates herself passionately to OC Walk to Remember, which she co-founded  in 2005 to offer support and help families memorialize children they have lost during pregnancy or infancy. Kristyn, through her vision and compassion, has touched the lives of many families who are grieving the loss of a child.

“As someone with a personal connection to the organization’s purpose, Kristyn makes deep connections with the many families that OC Walk to Remember serves,” says Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. ”She demonstrates the fundamental nature of what it means to care about others and to make a significant impact on people’s lives.”

OC Walk to Remember’s mission is to provide resources and education for parents, medical professionals, support groups and anyone else who is in need of this type of support.

OC Walk to Remember also gives people the opportunity to receive individual therapy, participate in events in memory of their child and interact with others who share their experience. The organization’s signature event is the Memorial Service 5K Walk and Celebration of Angels, which will happen on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the District at Tustin Legacy to help raise money for local organizations.

For each family that is suffering the loss of a child, Kristyn shares their pain. “Caring means giving your heart and soul to the people and causes you love,” Kristyn says. “It means reaching out and making a difference in this world. Whether you touch one person or thousands, you’ve made an impact all the same.”

Kristyn also shows an immense appreciation for the remarkable help from family and volunteers. Whether their support comes through donations or through hours devoted, she feels that they helped in making OC Walk to Remember possible.

Kristyn will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to OC Walk to Remember in her honor.

For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email.

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