Rev. Robby Olson
Rev. Robby Olson

Watsonville Community Hospital is in urgent need and together we can save it! In the interest of full transparency: I am a Watsonville resident, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley, and a personal financial donor to the effort to save our hospital. The following is my own, written at the behest of no person or organization.

If you have been following local news, you know that Watsonville Community Hospital’s current owners are in bankruptcy proceedings which puts the hospital in danger of closing. Thankfully, we have many people of good faith working hard to save our hospital which is so critical to our community. When the bankruptcy proceedings were announced, community leaders jumped into action, forming the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “forming a health care district and purchasing Watsonville Community Hospital to transition it to community ownership and governance.” With a herculean effort from our State Senator John Laird, a bill coauthored by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Mark Stone, and State Senator Anna Caballero, formed The Pajaro Valley Health Care District.  The path to a community owned and governed hospital was now set before us.

Organizations and individuals have stepped up to support the purchase of the hospital. I was honored both to vote in favor of the $6.5 million the Community Health Trust has given to the District Project and to vote for the Health Trust’s commitment to partner with the Health Care District to ensure a sustainable hospital into the future. I cheered on the State, the County, the City, and others as they stepped up to financially support the effort. 

Dear neighbors, the finish line is in sight, but the race is not over! We can get there, but it is going to require that we all pull hard in the same direction. Can you sacrificially give money to this community hospital purchase? Can you use your influence with people, organizations and corporations to get a few more deep pockets on board? The time is now.

As a pastor, I can think of no clearer connection to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor” than to make sure that your neighbor has access to local, high quality acute health care. Our community, our schools and our businesses rely on Watsonville Community Hospital; together we can save the hospital and in doing so, tangibly love our neighbors.

For information on how you can make a tax-deductible donation, please go to

Rev. Robby Olson is a Presbyterian pastor in Watsonville. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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