An immigrant family living the American dream, is sharing its success with Memorial Hospital. The Munger family of Munger Farms in Delano, announced Wednesday they are donating $2 million to create an advanced heart and stroke program there. It's just one of many ways the family has given back through their decades of hard work.
"The two major areas that are real dear to my dad are medicine and education," explained Kable Munger.
Kable's father, Lajpat Munger, and his wife moved to California from India 46 years ago. From working the land, he was able to buy his own farm in the San Joaquin Valley. Now, at age 95, Lajpat and his sons run Munger Farms. They are global and successful producers of berries and pistachios in Delano.
"To us, wealth is not in terms of money or what you have monetarily," said Kable. "Its what you do or what you are able to do for other people in your life."
Through the years, they've enriched the lives of those in their father's homeland in India, building a no-cost hospital, a university, high school and elementary school. Their latest gift is to the place they now call home, Kern County, and Memorial Hospital where their father has undergone two heart surgeries. Their $2 million donation will help create not the Munger Center, but the Sarvanand Heart and Stroke Center, named after their guru, Swarmi Sarvanand.
"Our guru's teaching is to work at donating as hard as you work the rest of your life," said David Munger.
"We would like the world to know that we feel we are who we are because of him," explained Kable Munger.
Construction is already underway in building a bi-plane interventional radiology suite. For the first time in Bakersfield, doctors will be able to look at a heart from two different angles at once. The donation will also create Bakersfield's only hybrid endovascular cath lab. It will result in less evasive surgeries and less recovery time, right here at home.
"I have been advocating for a room like this for seven years and it kept getting postponed, so the generosity of the Munger family," said Dr. Javier Miro, a cardiovascular surgeon at Memorial Hospital.
"It makes me feel lucky that we are able to do this and help other people because we feel we are blessed and we can do this," said Kable Munger.
"This is our way of living. This is not our last gift. I hope not," said David Munger.
The bi-plane suite is scheduled to be done by January 2013. The hybrid cath lab is set to be completed by March 2015.