The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors routinely makes presentations to various county employees, community groups and others in line for recognition.
But Supervisor Diane Burgis of Oakley may have taken this one to heart — literally — more than most this past Tuesday, as she honored the American Heart Association, John Muir Health Cardiology Department, and Contra Costa Emergency Medical Services Agency in observance of American Heart Month.
The Feb. 25 proclamation also marked the one-year anniversary of her open-heart surgery to correct aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve opening.
“It’s meaningful to be here a year later,” said Burgis, who asked three fellow heart surgery veterans — retired longtime Lafayette City Councilman Don Tatzin; retired East Bay municipal administrator Don Blubaugh; and Betty Geishirt Cantrell, director of the Richmond-based SparkPoint, a nonprofit helping families solidify their finances — to be on hand for the presentation.
“You don’t always know who your support system is going to be,” Burgis said.
Burgis wasn’t the only supervisor for whom matters of the heart loom large. County Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg noted that, five years ago, he received a heart and kidney transplant, and that he feels better now than for years before his surgery.
To his organ donors’ families, Glover said, “Your loved ones live on through me.”
Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said his father died of cardiac arrest. “Had a (defibrillator) been available, he likely would have lived,” Gioia said.