Tule River Elder McDarment honored for years of service at Sierra View

Porterville Recorder Front Page (October 20, 2021)

By Charles Whisnand

Todd McDarment will have more time to do one of the things he loves and that's work as a DJ. But he also plans to pursue other interests as well.

The Tule River Tribe Elder was honored at Eagle Mountain Casino on Tuesday for his 30 years of service as a phlebotomist at Sierra View Medical Center. McDarment recently retired and Tribal members made sure what his service to Sierra View and his people meant to them during Tuesday's ceremony.

Sierra View officials also stated McDarment played an integral role during the COVID-19 pandemic when it came to the lab work that needed to be done.

McDarment said he developed his love for music while he was a student at Bartlett Middle School and Porterville High School.

“I throw parties for my friends,” McDarment said. “I make it a big production that I do.” McDarment also said he makes sure he's helped by his friends as opposed to professionals when he's working as a DJ or as he put it “I always get amateurs involved. I want them to be comfortable.”

That was also true in his job as those who know him said he always worked to make patients and staff comfortable.

In his remarks thanking those who honored him on Tuesday, McDarment said “I have seen how overwhelmed they get on a daily basis,” about the health professionals he worked with. “I applaud all of them for what they did during the COVID pandemic.”

McDarment said he also made sure to take the time to try to comfort overwhelmed staff to make sure they were OK. “The patients are depending on them to do a good job,” he said.

As far as why he retired, McDarment said he thought about his 30 years at Sierra View and “I thought you know thats a long time to be on this one job. Maybe there's some other things I can look at to fill out my days.”

McDarment also stressed he enjoyed his time at Sierra View. “It was a good experience to be able to work at Sierra View,” he said. “I got attached to the patients and the staff members.”

About working during the COVID-19 pandemic, McDarment said, “it was overwhelming at times.”

He added when vaccinations first became available, the situation became less overwhelming but when the number of people being vaccinated decreased, “that's when it got going again and the cases going up again.”

Not only is McDarment fully vaccinated he has received his booster shot as well. He said he would obviously like the low vaccination rate at the Tule River Indian Reservation rise. “It's not only to protect myself but the people around me,” said McDarment on why he was vaccinated.

Tule River Tribal Council vice chairman Neil Peyron spoke about what McDarment meant to the Tule Tribe during Tuesday's ceremony.

“You're an inspiration to your people,” Peyron said. “We appreciate everything you've done. You've got the heart for your people.”

Peyron and other Tribal members sang songs in honor of McDarment during Tuesday's ceremony. Among those singing the songs was McDarment's nephew, Charleymane Hunter. McDarment was also presented with a Eagle basket designed blanket during Tuesday's ceremony.

As part of Sierra View's lab team, McDarment saw many changes at Sierra View, including the construction of the state-of-the-art lab on Putnam where he finished his career last week. McDarment contributed to the collection of 110,000 samples collected annually from thousands of patients.

Sierra View officials said during the pandemic McDarment was at the forefront of lab draws in COVID units. Even before vaccines became available, McDarment would put on personal protective equipment to make sure Sierra View's most vulnerable patients received the lab services they needed, Sierra View officials added.