Health

Friday, Mar 15 2013 05:57 PM

Gun shop to give $10K to hospital that tried to buy it

BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

The old adage "Good fences make good neighbors" could be amended to "Good gifts make good neighbors" in the case of Valley Gun and San Joaquin Community Hospital.

The gun shop will present the hospital's foundation a $10,000 check Saturday from a gun raffle to support the hospital's yet-unopened cancer center, which stands near the retailer.

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Valley Gun celebrates half a century

In addition to giving out a big check, Valley Gun will celebrate its 50th anniversary in other ways Saturday.

Shop owner Ken Quarnberg said the festivities will take place from roughly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop will be closing 28th Street between Chester Avenue and K Street for the event.

There will be several manufacturer representatives, food and music, as well as drawings to benefit the National Rifle Association.

"We'd just like everyone to come out and have a good time," Quarnberg said.

TO ATTEND

Valley Gun and the hospital have had a rocky relationship.

The hospital has plans to build another building south of the shop and tried to purchase Valley Gun to make way.

But they couldn't strike a deal.

Ken Quarnberg, owner of Valley Gun, and his father both had prostate cancer. Knowing the impact of the ailment on his family, Quarnberg said he feels the cancer center is something the community "desperately needs."

Quarnberg also thought the donation could be a gesture to establish a better relationship with the hospital "since we are going to be neighbors with the new cancer center and our relationship has started out on somewhat of a contentious note."

"Since it wasn't anything that I really wanted to ask (the hospital's) permission to do, I just wanted to do it, I just went ahead and started it," Quarnberg said of the fundraiser.

He procured a Kimber pistol and printed off 500 tickets to sell for $20 each. Quarnberg said his business paid for the gun and printing so every dime raised could go to the cancer center.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Quarnberg will give the hospital's foundation the check and about an hour later, the winning ticket for the firearm will be drawn.

"It's a great feeling and it's something I love being able to do," Quarnberg said.

Hospital spokesman Jimmy Phillips said the money will be directed to supporting the needs of The AIS Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital.

"We of course want to have really good relationships with all of the businesses in our area," Phillips said.

He added the good will especially extends to the east side of Chester Avenue where there have been a lot of changes in the past couple years.

The hospital's main campus is located on the west side of the street but San Joaquin expanded and acquired the properties near Valley Gun as it built the cancer center and moves forward on another 60,000-square-foot new structure.

The hospital anticipates the second building will be complete in mid-2014, Phillips said.

Quarnberg said he declined to sell his property because the hospital wouldn't pay what it would cost for his business to set up shop somewhere else. He said he initially feared he'd be pushed out, but that his worries are easing.

The shop owner said he's met some quality people at the hospital, people who are friendly and even brought him business.

The hospital has been a conscientious neighbor so far, keeping his shop posted of construction disruptions and trying to work with its schedule, Quarnberg said.

"At this point it looks as though we're just going to be neighbors, and that's fine," he said. "I think the center will actually draw more people into my store as well."

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