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The Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation (formerly the North Valley Hospital Foundation) is pleased to announce the receipt of the largest gift ever made to the local hospital foundation in the amount of $1,000,000 by the estate of Jake and Connie Heckathorn. The gift was requested to be used for the Foundation’s endowment at the Whitefish Community Foundation. In addition, other gifts from the Heckathorn estate were made to the Whitefish Community Library, Shepherds Hand Clinic and the Whitefish Community Foundation.

Jake and Connie were pillars in the community since moving to Whitefish in 1954. After more than 40 years of service to the hospital, Jake was awarded the 1st “Spirit of Caring Award” by North Valley Hospital in 2003; he provided legal guidance, attended Board of Director meetings, and was a founding member of the North Valley Hospital Foundation. He served as co-chair of the 2001 Capital Campaign to build the new hospital in 2007 at the current location. Overall, Jake provided his time and advice to North Valley Hospital for more than 50 years and was honored by the hospital with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

Connie also faithfully served the community for six decades in various areas of the community including serving on the Whitefish School Board, active in leadership at P.E.O., and the Whitefish Library. She was also one of the five founders of the Whitefish Community Foundation and organized and chaired their first Community Grants Program in 2000. The $300,000 gift to the Whitefish Community Foundation is also going into a permanent endowment fund to support community programs like the Great Fish Community Challenge in perpetuity. The Whitefish Community Foundation has formed the Cheers for Volunteers Award to recognize this gift from Connie and Jake. Jake used to write a column for the newspaper called Cheers for Volunteers and the Community Foundation will recognize a volunteer in the community each year and award $2,500 to the charity of their choice.

Jake Heckathorn passed away at the age of 95, on December 5, 2018, followed by his wife Connie at age 93 on March 19, 2021.

“My dad loved hosting and going to the hospital’s Mash Bash parties. Sometimes that is all he talked about,” wrote daughter Marti Heckathorn Bezdicek to the Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation. “I think the hospital has been part of my family since I can remember and I’m glad my parents can help other people with their donation.”

The Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation was formed in 2000 when the community recognized a need for a sole supporting fundraising arm of the hospital was required to help support efforts to build a new hospital. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $14 million to support capital projects, equipment purchases and fund programs of the Logan Health – Whitefish hospital and clinics.

“This tremendous gift to our organization will forever be a legacy to the Heckathorn family and generate income for generations to come to support programs and capital needs of our local hospital and clinics,” said Alan Satterlee, Executive Director of the Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation. “We’ll all be forever indebted to the generosity of this great Whitefish family.”

With the $1,000,000 gift the endowment held at the Whitefish Community Foundation will have a balance of over $1.6 million.