Hospice of Santa Barbara plays a key role in the local community by working with individuals and their loved ones who are facing terminal and chronic illnesses. The organization’s professionals work with individuals of all ages and offer a wide range of programming, from group therapy to healing through art. All of the programming at Hospice of Santa Barbara depends on the dedication of local volunteers and other supporters.
To recognize those who have contributed to the organization, Hospice of Santa Barbara bestows annual Heroes of Hospice Awards. This year, the organization recognized three Heroes of Hospice Award recipients at a special luncheon held at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara. The honorees have all demonstrated great dedication to advancing compassionate care at the end of life and providing support for individuals grieving a loss. This year’s three honorees include:
A veteran of the radio broadcast industry, Catherine Remak co-hosts Gary and Catherine in the Morning on KLITE. In addition, she owns CR Voice Productions and has performed in many television and radio commercials, becoming one of the most recognizable voices in Santa Barbara. In recent years, she has used her success to champion local nonprofits and become a strong proponent for the importance of hospice care. For the past 15 years, she has emceed the annual Light Up a Life ceremony at Hospice of Santa Barbara and now serves on the organization’s Board of Directors.
Ms. Remak first became involved with Hospice of Santa Barbara after the death of her father. Recognizing how important the organization’s services were in her ability to cope with the loss, she began using her own experience to encourage community members to seek help when they need it.
She also remains heavily involved with several other causes. Over the years, she has sat on the boards of the Make a Wish Foundation, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and The Friendship Center. In addition, she has been involved with Court Appointed Special Advocates and currently works part-time as the director of corporate development and communications for the Council for Alcoholism & Drug Abuse.
Dr. Stephen Hosea
In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Stephen Hosea became known for his leadership in the battle against AIDS. His work in this field led him to seek out education in end-of-life services. At the dawn of the AIDS outbreak, he was completely untrained in hospice care and chose to connect with Hospice of Santa Barbara chief executive officer Gail Rink. While he relied on the organization to help his clients, the organization also began to turn to him for questions about medical matters. In 2002, he became the medical advisor for the Hospice of Santa Barbara Board of Directors.
Today, Dr. Hosea draws on his four decades of medical experience to train resident physicians at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. In this role, he teaches young doctors how to interact with patients and their families as they face their final days. He created a training series called Finding Meaning in Medicine to help physicians identify their personal values and use them to influence how they practice medicine.
Dr. Hosea is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before specializing in infectious disease and relocating to Santa Barbara, where he has practiced since 1981. He serves as co-director of the Santa Barbara HIV Clinic and as a clinical professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
Alan Miller on Behalf of Hector Guy DiStefano
Previously, Alan Miller served as a trustee of the Hospice of Santa Barbara Foundation. He accepted the Heroes of Hospice award on behalf of Hector Guy DiStefano, who left a major endowment for the foundation upon his death.
Mr. Miller is a certified public accountant who has operated his own firm since 1980. Mr. DiStefano was one of his clients. Since Mr. DiStefano had no children, he divided his wealth among local charities and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Miller recognized the man’s commitment to and his passion for driving compassionate care.
Mr. DiStefano acted as a pilot during World War II in the Army Air Corps and lead B-24 Liberators in North Africa. Later, he amassed his fortune through investments but largely flew under the local radar, maintaining a simple life full of gardening and reading. His endowment has helped ensure the future of Hospice of Santa Barbara for years to come.
Hospice of Santa Barbara looks forward to continuing to honor its most dedicated community members on an annual basis. Since the award was implemented two years ago, the organization has had the opportunity to recognize some of its most dedicated supporters. Past honorees include Jill Kitnick, who took a major leadership role in the Beloved Bear Program and now volunteers with several other initiatives; Sarah House, an organization that offers housing to individuals who are low-income as they approach end of life; and Jill Nida, who has belonged to the Hospice of Santa Barbara Auxiliary since 1988.