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960 Canterbury Place, Suite 200, Escondido, CA 92025 | TEL: 760.739.2787 | FAX: 760.745.7040 | WEB: www.PalomarHealthFoundation.org
rie de Jong and his family are the classic American success story,
resplendent with an Ellis Island beginning and inspiring lessons
about what it takes to make it in the land of opportunity – hard
work, family unity and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The de Jongs founded San Marcos-based Hollandia Dairy, one of the
most successful dairy businesses to come out of San Diego County and still
going strong more than 60 years after its humble beginning.
But before the de Jongs made it in America, they were immigrants who
could not speak English and had just $35 in their possession.
Arie de Jong was just a boy when his family of 12 emigrated from Holland to
the United States and settled in North County.
The family sold everything to pay for their trip across the Atlantic Ocean
and brought with them few possessions. But that didn’t matter. They had
survived the Great Depression and World War II. It was time to start anew.
“We were a team. That was it,” de Jong says over a cup of coffee in his
ranch-style home near Lake Wolhford in Escondido. “We didn’t have a lot of
options. When the war was over we had nothing. So we had to start all over,
and America was the promised land.”
The de Jong Family Heritage
Coffee and pastries at 10 a.m. are a daily ritual for de Jong and Anneke,
his wife of nearly 50 years, in the dining area of their home in the historic
estate known as Melrose Ranch. It is here where de Jong recalls his family’s
voyage to New York and passing
through Ellis Island. A picture of
the de Jong children and their
parents stepping off their boat
is prominently displayed on the
Hollandia Dairy website.
“It was a rough boat ride,” de
Jong remembers. “I remember
waking up and seeing the Statue of
Liberty and saying ‘wow, we’re in
The de Jongs were indebted to
“Uncle Sam,” from the start de Jong
says. That would be his uncle, Sam
Bruinsma, the dairy farmer who
sponsored his family and gave the de
Jongs their first jobs in America.
“We worked hard and saved
money,” de Jong says. The family
initially lived in three small cottages
by a creek near Old Pomerado Road
in Poway. They eventually moved to
Escondido, where de Jong attended
Escondido High School.
Hollandia Dairy: A Story About Heart, Hard Work and Heritage
B u i l d i n g Y o u r H e a lt h C a r e S ys t e m o f t h e F u t u r e
Historical photos provided by Arie de Jong
Anneke and Arie de Jong
The de Jong Family
photographed when they
emigrated from Holland to
New York via Ellis Island. This
photo was taken as they
embarked on a flight from New
York to the West Coast.
Arie de Jong, Sr., and his wife, Maartge, emigrated from the
Netherlands in 1949 and went on to build Hollandia Dairy, one of the
most successful dairy businesses based in North San Diego County.
2 Foundation Focus | www.PalomarHealthFoundation.org
PALOMAR HEALTH FOUNDATION
Serving North San Diego County Since1950
he timing of the family’s
arrival in North County
could not have been
better. In 1949, milk
was the number one agricultural
product in San Diego County and
the de Jongs knew dairy farming
well. The family had been in the
dairy business for more than 200
years in Holland.
One year after their arrival,
the family had saved enough to
buy a dairy farm with 28 cows at
the corner of Felicita and Highway
395 (now Centre City Parkway) in
Escondido. In 1952, they bought
a larger dairy farm in San Marcos
and continued expanding over the
years. They named their business
Hollandia Dairy in honor of their
homeland and eventually moved
their headquarters to San Marcos.
Hollandia Dairy today is
one of the few remaining dairy
businesses in San Diego County
and one of the best known,
supplying milk and dairy
products to schools, hospitals,
prisons and the military across
De Jong, now in his 70s,
left the dairy business many
years ago but did not abandon
his entrepreneurial spirit. He
flourished as the operator of
successful waste management
and recycling businesses in
North County before his
so-called “retirement” in the
“Retirement is really not for
me,” de Jong says, flashing his
familiar smile. “I don’t mind
being retired as long as I’m
allowed to have projects on
Home delivery trucks and drivers stationed just outside Hollandia Dairy in San Marcos, circa 1964.
Hollandia Dairy circa 1958 on Felicita Avenue and Centre City Parkway. Pictured in the bottom left is the Fireside Restaurant.
Arie de Jong’s family outside the Bar
C Bar Ranch Dairy in Poway circa
1949. Pictured from top left to
right: Brothers Tom, Kees, Elso, Karl,
John; and Arie. Pictured from bottom
left to right: Uncle Nick; Father, Arie
Sr.; Uncle Sam (the de Jong family
sponsor); Cousin Alice; Uncle Elso.
mong those projects
are the charitable
works that de
Jong has become
known for throughout North
County. After selling his waste
management business, de Jong
gave his former employees a $1
million bonus to share for all
their years of support and went
about looking for other projects
“to help mankind.”
He found one when he
purchased Green Oak Ranch
in Vista in the late 1990s. De
Jong made improvements to
the facility that houses a drug
and alcohol recovery program
and charged the operators a
nominal fee of $1 to continue
alomar Health is
fortunate to be a
recipient of de Jong’s
generosity. De Jong
recently made a gift through
the Palomar Health Foundation
that is being used for the
construction of a conference
room at the new Palomar
Medical Center. The state-of-
the-art conference room was
dedicated to the de Jong family.
De Jong has fond memories
of Palomar Health. As a youth he
used to deliver milk throughout
North County, including the
original Palomar Medical Center
in downtown Escondido. His four
children were all born at the
A younger generation of de
Jongs now runs the Hollandia
Dairy. Arie de Jong’s side of
the family is not involved but
his children are all successful.
His oldest son, Eric, operates
San Marcos-based Diamond
Environmental Services, which
provides restroom rentals across
Southern California. Second
son Johnnie de Jong owns
Summerhill Dairy, a 2,000-goat
farm, and Dover Dairy, a 2,500
cow-farm in Central California.
These days, Arie de Jong
remains a sturdy businessman
with a gift for cutting deals
and a heart of gratitude for
his family and their adoptive
country. In 1999, he chartered
a train, bus and boat to take
his family and close friends to
Catalina Island to celebrate the
anniversary of the de Jongs’
coming to America. In 2009, he
hosted more than 300 members
of his family and close friends
to celebrate the family’s 60th
anniversary in North County and
took them all to an overnight trip
De Jong also stays busy
making improvements to his
beloved Melrose Ranch.
The picturesque 118-acre historic
estate, where famous celebrities
and members of the English
aristocracy once entertained,
today doubles as a wedding and
special event operation that
offers professional catering and
can accommodate up to 500
“I’ve done good but I need
to stick around because I’m not
done yet,” de Jong says. “I haven’t
finished all my projects. I have
enough projects coming up for
the next 10 years.”
The de Jong Family Legacy
Personal Ties to Palomar Health
Arie de Jong’s family pictured in Alphen on the Rhine,
Holland, circa 1946. From left to right, Pete, brother; Ellie,
sister; Arie Sr., father; Arie (bottom left); Kees, brother;
Maartje, mother; Elso, brother; Karl, brother; John, brother
(bottom right); Tom, brother.
Arie de Jong standing beside his Ford
Ranchero in 1964.
Workers fill milk bottles at the milk plant
in San Marcos circa 1955.
Hollandia Dairy bottles
processed through a
bottle filler, circa 1964.
The early days of Hollandia Dairy, located on the corner of Felicita Avenue and Centre City Parkway.
Photo pre-dates 1958.
Arie de Jong’s aunt, Maggie, bottlesand caps milk bottles, two at a time,at the dairy in Escondido on FelicitaAvenue and Centre City Parkway,circa 1954.
ceremony held June
9 commemorated the
opening of the chapel
which became a reality thanks
to the generosity of more than
800 generous Palomar Health
employees, faith groups and
the Harold and Penny Dokmo
Family who supported the
chapel. The campaign to build a
chapel originated with a group
of dedicated and determined
employees who saw a need
to provide an interfaith space
where patients, their families,
physicians, employees and
chaplains could find solace and
The chapel was shelled due
to funding constraints presented
during the completion of the
This small group of 11
employees and chaplains
recognized that a chapel was
such a vital place they began
raising awareness by calling
their campaign effort “The
Power of One,” in early 2012.
As their campaign gained
momentum, a chapel campaign
was formed and a goal of
$500,000 was set.
Employees leading the
charge, including Alma Davis, Rev.
Richard Gonzalez, Genie Tanksley,
Margaret and Danny Thomas
and Sonia Lopez quickly gained
support from fellow employees,
staff members and community
Two years after the campaign
began more than 800 employees
pledged their support for the
chapel, raising a combined
$125,000 in donations.
Their generosity inspired
a six-figure transformational
gift from the Harold and Penny
he Raymond Family
located on the second
floor of the Palomar
Medical Center opened to
physicians, staff and the
community on June 9 thanks to
the generosity of the Jack and
Caroline Raymond Family and the
Arie and Anneke de Jong Family.
The conference center
includes two conference rooms
that will be available for staff
and board meetings, Continuing
Medical Education (CME), as well
as teleconferencing consultation
calls between Palomar Health
doctors and specialists.
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The Building of the Chapel at Palomar Medical Center
The Jack Raymond Family Conference Room boasts a classroom
style setting with plenty of seating for lectures, seminars and
From left to right: Palomar Medical Center Chief Administrative
Officer, Gerald Bracht; Palomar Health Chief Executive Officer,
Michael H. Covert; Donors, Jack Raymond, and Anneke and Arie de
Jong; and Chief Medical Staff Officer Richard Engel celebrate the
opening of the Medical Education Resource Center.
The chapel features window treatments that depict a natural environment. Inside, the
chapel design includes a replica of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. There is a much-publicized
practice of placing slips of paper containing written prayers into the crevices of the wall.
More than a million notes are placed on the real wall each year.
The Raymond Family Conference Center
Interfaith leaders held pieces of wood and stonethat were used to build the chapel in a specialblessing during the chapel opening.
PALOMAR HEALTH FOUNDATION
Downtown Chapel Renovation Celebration
The Grand Opening of the chapel at the Palomar Health Downtown Campus was celebrated on Good Friday, April 18,
with a brief ceremony that included a ribbon cutting and the blessing of the chapel by Rev. Richard Gonzalez who was one
of the campaign’s early supporters and biggest champions.
The expansion and beautification of the chapel, which includes new carpet, lighting and a mural, were made possible with
a private gift from Margaret Groves. Groves was inspired to renovate the chapel at the downtown campus after learning
of the contributions made by Palomar Health employees and the Dokmo Family toward the completion of the chapel at the
Groves said she and her daughters often wished they had a quiet place for personal reflection and prayer when her husband
was hospitalized at the downtown campus several years ago.
Her gift makes it possible for all patients, their families, physicians, staff and chaplains to have a dedicated space for
meditation and personal reflection. The chapel is open to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds.
Steinway Model ‘O’ Piano Dedication
Following the successful example of other
hospitals that have implemented music therapy
to help patients’ healing, a handful of physicians
at Palomar Health initiated the charge to
purchase a Steinway piano by making generous,
Thanks to a lead gift by Ms. Jean Cheng and
Dr. George Kung, as well as contributions by Drs.
Richard Engel, Thomas Jones, Paul Neustein,
Ben and Maria Padilla and Jeffrey Rosenburg,
and Musician Richard Elliot, the piano can now
provide soothing melodies to patients, their
families, staff and guests.
Dennis James, owner of SoCal Pianos, also
to be played automatically and be controlled
through a computer or smart phone.
The Palomar Health Downtown Campus
features a wall mural representative of a
natural, healing environment bestowed upon all
From left to right: SoCal Pianos Owner Dennis James, Drs. Richard Engel,
Jeffrey Rosenburg, Thomas Jones; Mrs. Randi Feinberg and Dr. Neustein;
Ms. Jean Cheng, Dr. George Kung and their daughter, Jasmine Kung.
The renovation of the chapel at the Palomar Health Downtown Campus was
celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Good Friday. Pictured from left to right
are: Ann Braun, Randy Wilson, Margaret Thomas, Sheila Brown and John Forst.
Health Foundation Board,
the Morgan Stanley financial
advisor and portfolio manager
brought a wealth of community
involvement experience to the
The North County resident
works for Morgan Stanley, a
Global Wealth Management firm
that recognizes and supports
employees who volunteer
in their local communities
through special grant programs.
“They like to support our
involvement,” Pille-Speacht says
about Morgan Stanley.
An active member in the
local investment community,
Pille-Speacht is also generous
with her volunteer time, sitting
on numerous North County
boards and lending her talents
to various charitable groups.
She recently secured a grant
from Morgan Stanley that she
directed to the Palomar Health
Foundation to support North San
Diego County Forensic Health
Services for victims of abuse
which was in danger of closing
without financial help.
The dedicated volunteer
made it easy for Morgan Stanley
to say yes to her request. Morgan
Stanley employees who annually
donate at least 55 hours to a
health or social service cause
are eligible to apply for a grant
for the organization they
are helping through Morgan
Stanley’s Volunteer Incentive
“I was delighted that Morgan
Stanley was able to make a grant
to help save such a valuable
program for North County,”
Pille-Speacht says. “It didn’t
make sense for kids who live in
North County to have to go all
the way to San Diego for services
in the midst of dealing with a
terrible trauma. It makes more
sense for them to go somewhere
locally – so they and their
families could get counseling
and help,” she says.
The Palomar Health
Foundation raised $200,000 last
year to help save the programs.
The programs work closely
with the county’s Child Welfare
Services and law enforcement
agencies to determine the
extent of a victim’s abuse.
Palomar Health experts have
helped the San Diego County
District Attorney’s office convict
“Palomar Health Foundation
is fortunate to have a board
member with the background and
skills that Pille-Speacht possesses,”
says Kimberly Rideout Cardoso, of
the Palomar Health Foundation.
Pille-Speacht says she plans to
apply for another Morgan Stanley
VIP grant to help Forensic Health
“It’s something that should
be supported for many years to
come,” she says.
n the age of health care
reform, the best care providers
are recognized for delivering
high quality services. Add
the Palomar Health Orthopedic
Institute to that decorated list.
The Orthopedic Institute’s
reputation for positive patient
outcomes is supported by
endorsements from major health
plans after meeting stringent
quality and outcomes criteria.
They have awarded their seals
of approval to several Palomar
Health orthopedic service lines.
The Institute – made up of
multidisciplinary clinical teams
has received three designations
for excellence in recent years:
• Blue Distinction for high
quality knee and hip
replacement by Anthem
Blue Shield of California for
Palomar Medical Center and
• Blue Distinction Center for
high quality spine surgery
by Anthem Blue Shield
of California for Palomar
• Aetna Institute of Quality®
Orthopedic Care Facility for
spine surgery for Palomar
Who benefits from these
designations? Patients do, in a
Clinical orthopedic teams
across Palomar Health are
working more closely than ever
and producing very measurable
and positive results that are
being evaluated and recognized
by health plans.
This is good news
particularly for patients who
are in need of treatment for
traumatic, degenerative or
inflammatory joint diseases.
represent a certain
high level of expertise
and commitment to
the service,” says
– Natalie Brawner,
Director of Business
Brawner led the formation
of the institute, which includes
physicians from Arch Health
“These designations are
tributes to the dedicated team of
physicians, nurses, technicians
and therapists who have helped
develop Palomar Medical
Center and Pomerado Hospital’s
comprehensive programs in
knee and hip replacement and
in spine surgery,” Brawner says.
“Their clinical expertise in
these areas of specialty care has
resulted in better overall results
for our patients,” she adds.
This Orthopedic Institute’s
comprehensive team approach
methodology to providing
care is a model of excellence,
says Brian Cohen, Palomar
Health Manager of Program
“This includes tight
orthopedic experts – including
board-certified and fellowship-
trained orthopedic surgeons,
specialty trained nurses,
pharmacists, physical therapists
and clinicians – all dedicated
to providing excellence in
orthopedic care,” says Cohen,
who was also involved in the
development of the orthopedic
In addition to the decorated
service lines for spine, hip,
and knee replacement care,
the Palomar Health clinical
teams provide treatment for
foot and ankle, hand and wrist,
shoulder and elbow. Clinical
teams specialize in a wide range
of orthopedic care treatments,
including minimally invasive
total joint replacement, motion
preserving spine surgery and
Brawner says the application
process for the special
designations is lengthy and
meticulous but worth the time
and effort because the results
tell so much about the Palomar
Health Orthopedic Institute’s
dedication to excellence. “Every
goal we are setting we are
hitting,” Brawner says.
6 Foundation Focus | www.PalomarHealthFoundation.org
Liza Pille-Speacht Facilitates Morgan Stanley
Orthopedic Institute Recognized for Quality
Liza Pille-Speacht with her
PALOMAR HEALTH FOUNDATION
John Forst, Chair
Craig Brown, Vice Chair
Harvey N. Hershkowitz
Stephen T. Hundley
George Kung, M.D.
Elizabeth “Liza” Pille-
Jaime Rivas, M.D.
Thomas H. Silberg
Michael H. Covert,
President and CEO,
Jack Raymond, Co-Chair
Carol Lazier, Co-Chair
Barbara Warden, Co-Chair
Roger J. Acheatel, M.D.
Kenneth and Marjorie
Richard C. Engel, M.D.
Kenneth H. Lounsbery
LaDainian and Torsha
T.E. (Ted) Kleiter, Chair
Steve Yerxa, Vice-Chair
Linda Greer, R.N.,
Jerry Kaufman, P.T.M.A.,
Aeron Wickes, M.D.
id you know Palomar
Internship is one of
the largest pre-health
internship programs in the
The 7-year-old program
helps build tomorrow’s health
care leaders through hands-on
experiences offered today at
Palomar Health. The program was
developed for the advancement
of local students interested in
exploring health care professions
through internship experience.
To date, approximately 3,000
students from local high schools
and universities have graduated
from the program.
Students accepted into
Pathmakers participate in
education modules to learn basic
patient care skills: assisting with
meals, discharging patients and
ambulating patients, amongst
others. Pathmakers then complete
department orientations and
shadow out-going interns
before they formally begin their
experience as interns.
The goal and purpose of the
program is to help students learn
the skills needed for their success
in the health care field and to help
them determine if they are ready
to join the health care work force.
“I know I wouldn’t be where I
am today if it hadn’t been for this
program,” said Bethany Dineen,
former student intern who joined
the Palomar Health Foundation as
a development assistant.
Building Tomorrow’s Health Leaders Today
Pathmaker interns are vital members of the Palomar Health team.
common thread runs
Zettel’s long and
service career: a passion for
health care issues.
It’s a thread the former two-
term state Assembly member
continues to weave into action on
a statewide level as an academic
and health care leader and locally
as a volunteer. Zettel is Chief
Executive Officer of Donate Life
California, the life-saving state
organ and tissue donor registry.
She is also longtime Palomar
“Health care has always been
my passion and continues to this
day,” says Zettel, who lives in
Zettel serves on the Board
of Regents for the University
of California, which oversees
10 UC campuses, five medical
centers and three national
Her ties to Palomar date
back to the early 1990s when she
became active with the Palomar
Health Care Advisory Councils,
now known as Community Action
Councils. The community outreach
groups promote health in the
district and support great causes
such as the passage of Proposition
BB in 2004, which helped with
the building of the new Palomar
Zettel currently serves on
the Palomar Health Foundation
Honorary Campaign Cabinet,
which supports the foundation’s
Building Your Healthcare System of
the Future capital campaign.
Having Zettel on your side
is always a sign of strength, says
Palomar Health Foundation
Board Director Sue Herndon, who
has known Zettel since the 1980s.
“Anything Charlene takes part in,
you can always count on having
her wholehearted support. She is
very accomplished. We are lucky
to have her as a supporter of
Palomar Health,” Herndon says.
extend well beyond health care.
Before becoming the first Latina
Republican elected to the state
Assembly in 1998, Zettel served
on the Poway Unified School
District Board. In 2004, former Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed
her Director of the Department
of Consumer Affairs and later
appointed her director for the San
Diego Office of the Governor.
But it is her passion for health
care that has made her such a
valued friend of Palomar Health.
Zettel says the feeling is mutual
and admires the expansion of
services made under the visionary
leadership of CEO Michael H.
Covert and the tireless work of the
entire Palomar Health family.
“They wanted to provide the
best health care options for North
County communities and turned
that vision into reality with a
state-of-the-art hospital,” she says,
referring to the new Palomar
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Corporate Partners in Health Spotlight: Alhiser-Comer Mortuary
egan Comer recently toured
Palomar Medical Center and
came away impressed with the
new hospital. She saw that the
natural light, the neutral paint palette and
the open space convey warmth to patients
and their families.
A business manager for Alhiser-Comer
Mortuary in Escondido, Comer knows a thing
or two about soothing families when they are
most vulnerable. During her tour, she saw
opportunities to implement the hospital’s
welcoming environment in the viewing room
of the morgue.
“It’s such a trying time for families. It’s
important to provide them with a place that
is comfortable,” Comer says. At Alhiser-Comer
Mortuary, the viewing rooms have carpeting,
cushioned chairs, couches and calming paint.
“We’re hoping to see a family viewing room
at the hospital that is more comfortable, more
family-friendly, more inviting to families
during a tough period,” she adds.
Alhiser-Comer Mortuary joins more than
30 businesses participating in the Palomar
Health Foundation Corporate Partners in
“We appreciate the opportunities the
Palomar Health Foundation has given us to
help out in the community,” Comer says.
The mortuary’s experience and reputation
made it an ideal donor for the beautification
project of the viewing room. Comer says her
family understands well the importance of
creating a supportive environment to families
after the death of a loved one.
The mortuary is the oldest continually
operating business in Escondido, with an active
presence dating back to the 1890s when it used
horse-drawn funeral carriages, and has evolved
into one of the most modern mortuaries around.
In 1989, Bill Comer and his son, Stuart,
purchased the mortuary. Stuart Comer
eventually assumed control of the business
and extensively refurbished and updated
the building on S. Broadway. In 2000, it
was renamed Alhiser-Comer Mortuary. The
Comer family also operates Lakepointe
Crematorium in Lake Elsinore in Riverside
County and the Lakepointe Cremation and
Burial in Rancho Bernardo.
The viewing room at Palomar Medical
Center will be named after
Alhiser-Comer Mortuary in
grateful appreciation of
Thank You to Our Corporate Partners inHealth