8th Annual Heroes of Hospice of Santa Barbara Goes Virtual with Internationally known Pico Iyer, Honors Local Heroes

Heroes Honored for work related to COVID-19

Pico Iyer (Above)

On Wednesday, September 16th, Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB) will hold their 8th Annual Heroes of Hospice (HOH) event online to honor local community heroes with international Keynote Speaker, Pico Iyer.

Due to COVID-19, many events have been cancelled and postponed but HSB’s yearly event will go virtual with an hour-long online event.  Each year, HSB recognizes the outstanding organizations and individuals who play a key role in service to those in the Santa Barbara community and/or support the organization’s mission of providing care to anyone experiencing the impact of a serious illness or grieving the death of a loved one. This year, awardees are honored for their work related to COVID-19.

HSB will honor Steve Ortiz, President & CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County with the Philanthropy Award, Liliana Encinas and Jose Fierros with the Partnership Award, Zoomers to Boomers with the Volunteer Award and Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons with the Medical Award.

Also this year, the live virtual HOH event will feature world-renowned novelist, travel writer, and four-time TED Talk speaker, Pico Iyer, who will first give the live keynote address “The Open Door.” Iyer will talk about what opportunities might lie hidden within this season of sadness. What might we learn from a time of uncertainty, and how can we reorient lives that may have spun out of control? How can loss sometimes lead to liberation and challenge remind us of what truly sustains us?

Drawing on 46 years of talks with the XIVth Dalai Lama, 32 years of living in Japan and more than half a century of visiting Santa Barbara, Iyer will try to offer concrete tips for refreshing our habits in the light of lockdown and advancing joyfully through a world of sorrows. He will also answer questions live during the program.

Iyer is the author of numerous books including The Global Soul, The Lady and the Monk, his bestselling The Open Road, an unprecedented portrait of the Dalai Lama. One of his most recent books, Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells, is a meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief seeded in his part-time home of Japan, a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead.

He is also an essayist for TIME Magazine and a consistent contributor for the New York Times, Harper’s, Granta, and more than 200 other newspapers and magazines worldwide. During the event Iyer will lend his wisdom on the world’s current state.

“We are proud to have such an acclaimed speaker while keeping our tradition of honoring local Heroes to express our gratitude, on behalf of our community, for what they have done for all of us—particularly during these difficult past months,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara. “Our Heroes and speaker deserve recognition for being a huge positive force in many people’s lives during this time.”

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s virtual Heroes of Hospice will be held online, September 16th at 6 p.m. PST. The event is free but registration is required. For more information, please visit: https://bit.ly/3kI1mOn

This year’s Heroes of Hospice award recipients are:

Philanthropy Award – Steve Ortiz, President & CEO – United Way of Santa Barbara County

Under the leadership of Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has been at the forefront of COVID-19 community support. In partnership with other community organizations, including the Santa Barbara Foundation and Hutton Parker Foundation, UWSBC set up the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort to assist individuals and families, as well as other nonprofits, financially impacted by COVID-19. They also collaborated with many community partners on an Emergency Child Care Initiative to provide child care to children of frontline and essential workers, as well as a Public Health Critical Needs Initiative to support isolation, quarantining, and contact tracing.


Partnership Award – Liliana Encinas and Jose Fierros

Critical COVID-19 messages reach many in our Spanish-speaking community because of these two local heroes. Liliana and Jose share the most current information and resources regarding the pandemic—health, financial, food insecurity, and mental wellness—once or twice a day on their radio show. Their efforts have supported the safety, well-being, and health of many and have likely saved lives.

Volunteer Award – Daniel Goldberg Founder of Zoomers to Boomers

COVID-19 is much more dangerous to older people and those who have underlying health conditions, which forces many to remain isolated in their homes without access to groceries. In response, Zoomers to Boomers has assembled a team of young volunteers from Generation Z (born 1995-2015) to deliver groceries to their neighbors who are elderly or immunocompromised across Santa Barbara, the U.S. and even the world.


Medical Award – Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease physician Dr. Fitzgibbons has played a critical role as a member of the COVID Incident Command Center, working with physicians and administrative leadership to ensure that systems are as good as they can be. She is involved in making sure that medical staff are protected while providing outstanding care to patients. She has also collaborated with research projects at UCSB, including a focus on forecasting COVID-19 models.




About Hospice of Santa Barbara

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides professional counseling, support groups, and patient care services free of charge to individuals and families who are grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness. Hospice of Santa Barbara also provides counseling in our offices and on fifteen local junior and high school campuses to children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

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