Ventura County Association of Health Underwriters Annual Charity Event aka Wood-Gutzke Charity Event: In 1990, Greg Hoffman was president of VCAHU and had an idea to start a charity. Ken Gutzke was the past-president at that time and had an experience at the Ventura County Medical Center 6 months prior. His niece was in the hospital for 3 weeks due to a ruptured appendix. Ken and his wife visited her daily and realized that there were no toys or videos for the kids staying at the pediatric ward. Not wanting to just make a cash donation, VCAHU decided to donate toys for the kids that were in the ward at Christmas time.
VCAHU raised $2,500 the first year and several of us decided to dress up as Santa and elves and deliver the toys. The hospital was somewhat overwhelmed as the group of about 25 insurance elves sang carols through the halls while delivering toys. We provided toys from the kid's wish list as well as enough toys to last through the year for all the kids that came through the facility. The hospital had to devote an entire room for the toys, games and video's we provide and hired a full-time play therapist, Michelle Landon. We coordinated our efforts with Dr. Chris Landon at VCMC and have made similar, or greater, donations every year since 1990. We were recognized by the National Association of Health Underwriters as having the finest Charity Program in the nation among local chapters and local newspaper wrote an article with photos noting the generosity of the Insurance Agent Community. In 1992, Karen Wood joined Ken Gutzke as co-chair of the charity. Ken moved to Idaho in 2006 and eventually became active in his local association.