Hello and happy autumn! It’s a busy time of year at St. Charles, and I want to make sure you’re aware of a few things that might otherwise slip past your radar:

We’ve welcomed a new member to the St. Charles Board of Directors: Jon Bullock, a resident of Redmond and co-founder and executive director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy. Before he founded RPA, he worked as an administrator with the Redmond School District and the Bethel School District in Eugene and served as a high school teacher and coach in Corvallis and Salem. In addition to his work at the K-12 level, Jon has also taught courses at the college and university level and currently serves as a member of the Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees. He is also a former member of the Redmond City Council and the Economic Development Central Oregon board.

I am excited to have a member of the board with such extensive experience and a career-long focus on education, not to mention deep roots in Redmond. Jon joined us to help St. Charles as we work to ensure the people of Central Oregon get the care and support they need and deserve.

"Access to high-quality, affordable health care is essential for our community,” he said. “Serving on the St. Charles Board of Directors provides the opportunity to directly and positively influence our community's future.”

Please join me in welcoming Jon to the board and thanking him for his service!

Being up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters is still the best way to protect yourself against severe illness and hospitalization as a result of the virus, and experts say October is a great time to get the booster (and a flu shot, too). St. Charles has the new bivalent boosters, which are emergency authorized by the FDA. Appointments are available for those 12 and older at any St. Charles Urgent Care clinic. If our schedule doesn’t work for yours, please check out the many options for vaccination in our community.

At St. Charles, we are cautiously returning to in-person events and, like you, enjoying spending more time with others – both in our facilities and in the communities we serve.

In recent weeks, our caregivers have attended the Bend Health Fair, the Latino Fest in Madras and Prineville and the Jefferson County Senior Center Health Fair, with more stops on the horizon. If you’re out and about and you see our blue tent or tablecloth, please stop by and say hi!

This Sunday you’ll find many of us at St. Charles Foundation’s annual 5K run/walk fundraiser, Heaven Can Wait, which returns to an in-person format after two years as a virtual event. Heaven Can Wait raises money for Sara’s Project, which provides education, early detection and support services to ease the challenges of breast cancer for people in Central and Eastern Oregon. And this year, the event moves to Redmond! It’s a fun time for a good cause and a celebration of life, survivorship and those who have passed on.

Finally, you may have noticed the American flag flying at half-mast at our hospitals in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. We lowered them to show our respect for Atwai Wasco Chief Alfred Smith Jr., who passed away earlier this week. St. Charles Health System sends its heartfelt condolences to his family and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.