by Rand Green | March 11, 2014
At its annual meeting in Salinas, CA, March 6, Navidad Medical Foundation honored Watsonville, CA-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates and the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, J. Miles Reiter, with its annual Hero Award in recognition of donations from Driscoll’s totaling $107,700 to support Natividad’s crosscultural initiatives.
That amount a included $75,000 donation to help launch a new nationwide medical interpreting initiative, for the benefit of medical patients who are from indigenous cultures of Mexico, Central and South America who speak neither English nor Spanish. The launch was announced at a press event in conjunction with the annual meeting.
According to a Natividad press release, the Mixteco, Triqui, Chatino and Zapoteco languages spoken by indigenous groups in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla are among the 10 most-common languages spoken by patients at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, which is supported philanthropically by the foundation.
The Central Coast of California “is home to more than 27,000 indigenous immigrants and their families,” many of whom are field workers in the vegetable and strawberry industries, the press release stated. The foundation’s indigenous interpreting program is “a first-of-its-kind program to train essential community and medical translators for more than 685,000 Latinos of indigenous origin nationwide — a U.S. population that has increased nearly 70 percent over the past decade,” according to a Natividad backgrounder.
Reiter is a fourth-generation farmer whose family “has specialized in berries for over 100 years,” according to a backgrounder from Natividad. “Miles continues to farm through Reiter Affiliated Companies. He has served on numerous boards, including the California Strawberry Commission .” Driscoll’s is “the world’s largest distributor of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.”
Reiter was a founding member of The Agricultural Leadership Council, established in 2010 under the leadership of John D’Arrigo, a third generation Salinas Valley grower and president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, to help farm workers and their families through philanthropic support of Natividad. Among other founding members of TALC were Ed Boutonnet and Joe Pezzini of Ocean Mist Farms, David Gill and Jamie Strachan of Growers Express LLC, and Bob and Rick Antle of Tanimura & Antle. TALC donations to the foundation have totaled more than $1.1 million since its founding. TALC was the 2013 recipient of the foundation’s Hero Award.