Society Matters | Hospice of S.B. Hosts Heroes of Hospice

S.B. Neighborhood Clinics, S.B. High School, and Hospice's Bereavement Services Honored

HSB CEO David Selberg and honoree S.B. Neighborhood Clinics CEO/CMO Dr. Charles Fenzi | Credit: Gail Arnold

On September 22, Hospice of S.B. (HSB) hosted its 10th annual Heroes of Hospice luncheon, where it honored S.B. Neighborhood Clinics, S.B. High School, and HSB’s Bereavement Services staff, while raising funds for this treasured nonprofit, which provides all of its services for free.

Held in the Hilton S.B. Beachfront Resort’s Plaza del Sol, the 262 guests enjoyed a reception and tasty salmon lunch. CEO David Selberg welcomed guests back after the COVID hiatus, and acknowledged while COVID has been difficult on all of us, it has been particularly so for those dealing with terminal illness or grieving the loss of a loved one.  

He explained how HSB’s Children’s Bereavement Counseling program provides counseling each week in all the junior high and high schools in south and mid county for those experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one. Its Adult Bereavement Services provides counseling to adults — with counselors walking with those who have lost a loved one “on their journey of grief, for as long as it takes.”

HSB’s Patient Care Services staff, Selberg continued, provides wraparound support to those with a life threatening or terminal illness. The staff, along with 117 volunteers, provide practical and emotional support to those navigating our medical systems.

For the event theme of What Matters Most, guest speakers — author William Peters, S.B. Rescue Mission President Rolf Geyling, and Vida Center Founder Mari Hernandez — all spoke from the heart.


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S.B. Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) received the Medical Hero Award for its partnership with HSB’s Patient Care Services program. In accepting the honor, recently retired CEO/CMO Dr. Charles Fenzi shared his gratitude to HSB for training its staff in an area that physicians tend not to excel — helping patients decide what to do with the diagnosis and treatment options that doctors provide. He lauded HSB for its guidance in conversing with patients from different cultures on advanced care directives. He praised HSB for their wide-ranging services to SBNC’s COVID patients, which included providing groceries and walking dogs. Watching all that happen, according to Fenzi, was absolutely amazing.

S.B. High School (SBHS) received the Partnership Hero Award for its longstanding partnership with HSB in providing bereavement counseling services. While grateful for the award, Principal Elise Simmons commented that it is S.B. High School that should be bestowing the award on HSB because “they are our hero.”  Simmons recounted how through the partnership, students, their families, and staff have benefited from thousands of hours of support and care provided on an ongoing basis, including in the aftermath of student deaths, natural disasters, and other tragedies. Simmons also praised the dedication of SBHS’s counseling team, the “first responders” working with HSB and District staff.

The Staff Hero Award went to HSB’s Bereavement Services staff. In accepting the award, Bereavement Services Manager Michael Cruse related how death, dying, and bereavement are ground-zero for our shared humanity and how they produce great sorrow, upheaval, and renewal that transforms us. In picking up on the event’s theme, Cruse noted that what matters most to him and his team of counselors is serving clients and the community in this process.

Last year, HSB provided care to 2,686 people. Unlike other hospice organizations in town which are medical hospices, HSB is a volunteer hospice.  As such, it can serve anyone, regardless of diagnosis, treatment choices, or life-expectancy.  A well-endowed foundation, the SB Hospice Foundation, funds about half of HSB’s annual budget of $4.3 million. HSB, with a commitment to providing all of its services free of charge, is dependent on the community for the remainder of its funding.

For more info, go to hospiceofsb.org.


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Honorees: Bereavement Services Manager Michael Cruse and SB High School Principal Elise Simmons | Credit: Gail Arnold
Randy VanderMey and Board Chair Dana VanderMey | Credit: Gail Arnold
CALM President and CEO Alana Walczak with HSB Boardmember, event speaker, and SB Rescue Mission President Rolf Geyling | Credit: Gail Arnold

Boardmembers Natasha Marston and Eryn Shugart | Credit: Gail Arnold

Jackie Goodman and event speaker William Peters | Credit: Gail Arnold

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