Dixie Watkins named a ‘Woman of Distinction’ by organization in Redlands
Dixie Watkins, founding president of the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild, was honored as a Woman of Distinction by the University of Redlands Town & Gown organization at a luncheon held on March 15. She was specifically recognized for her volunteer efforts, most of which have benefited children.
Since it was founded in 1999, the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild has raised more than $700,000 for Children’s Hospital. Ms. Watkins was instrumental in organizing both the Loma Linda and Desert guilds of Big Hearts for Little Hearts.
Most recently, Ms. Watkins chaired the planning committee for the 15th annual Children’s Hospital Gala, held on March 9. The event raised more money than ever before—a net of $790,000 to benefit pediatric intensive care services. She has chaired the planning committee five times.
Melissa King, who as special events coordinator for Children’s Hospital works closely with Ms. Watkins, says that one of the most amazing things about Dixie “is how she’s able to keep everything in her mind.” And, adds Ms. King, “she’s always ready to mentor.”
Ms. Watkins cites her mother, an active volunteer in her church, the Red Cross, and the Girl Scouts, as a major influence in her volunteer endeavors. “My mother set a really good example for me,” she says. Over the years, Ms. Watkins has served as president of the Junior Medical Auxiliary and the National Medical Auxiliary, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Loma Linda University Medical Center and the LLU Adventist Health Sciences Center. She is a founding board member of the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda and is a member of the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation Board.
“I don’t like to sit still very much,” says Ms. Watkins. “I get great rewards from seeing good things happen.”
Five grandchildren, ages 5, 7, 7, 9, and 10, are Ms. Watkins’ current passion. She smiles when she recalls what one grandchild said recently: “Mema” (his name for her), “Would you just keep me forever?”
Ms. Watkins’ husband, Hugh, is a dermatologist practicing in Riverside. He and Dixie had the pleasure of graduating together from Loma Linda University in the same commencement ceremony.
By Marilyn Thomsen, PhD