9th Annual Heroes Of Hospice Of Santa Barbara Honors Local Heroes With Hybrid Event Including #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Gilbert

Local Heroes Honored

On Wednesday, September 22nd from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB) will hold their 9th Annual Heroes of Hospice (HOH) – Hybrid Event to honor local community heroes with Keynote Speaker and #1 New York Times bestselling author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth will be livestreamed for her presentation. The program will include honorees, a silent and online auction, and more. As COVID-19 guidelines continue to change, Heroes of Hospice will adapt accordingly.

HSB has decided to hold a hybrid event to accommodate attendees who can choose to attend in-person outside at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort or to watch virtually from the comfort of their own homes to honor local heroes.

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.

HSB will honor Mi Vida, Mi Voz with the Partnership Award, the Beloved Bear Program with the Volunteer Award, Van Do-Reynoso, MPH, PhD with the Medical award and Gary Simpson with the Legacy Award.

Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her memoir, Eat Pray Love, famously chronicling the year she spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. In the years since, people from all walks of life have looked to Gilbert for guidance in leading brave, authentic, and creative lives. Elizabeth’s bestselling nonfiction book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, unpacks her own generative process and shares her wise, witty insights into the mysteries of curiosity and inspiration. Written in Elizabeth’s charming and conversational voice, Big Magic underscores Elizabeth’s status as a mentor for spiritual seekers and introspective explorers. In her presentation, Elizabeth will share how to discover creativity, release fear, and become more resilient, especially during this tumultuous time of COVID-19 and our re-entry back to “normal” life.

“We are very excited to have Elizabeth Gilbert as our Keynote Speaker. Her messages of transformation and moving forward from what is holding us back will be powerful for our attendees,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara.

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s hybrid event will be held in-person and online, September 22nd. The in-person program will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. PDT and the online program will be from 5:45-7:00 p.m. PDT. The in-person portion will be held outside at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.hospiceofsb.org/heroes or contact Cheryll Puyot at cpuyot@hospiceofsb.org / (805) 770-5291.


This year’s Heroes of Hospice award recipients are:

Partnership Award – Mi Vida, Mi Voz 


In response to the pandemic, Mi Vida, Mi Voz (MVMV) pivoted quickly to meet the need for timely, trusted information in Spanish — collating community resources in five basic categories – Health, Basic Needs (food, financial support, housing, legal), Mental Health, Children & Families, and Seniors – and sharing them in both Spanish and English to a network of trusted partners. Since then, MVMV has been able to establish ongoing partnerships with over 180 organizations, a network of over 550 community champions, and a reach of over 10,000 Latino families countywide.


Volunteer Award: Beloved Bear Program

The Beloved Bear Program was started in 2009 and provides comfort to adults and children grieving the loss of a family member or friend. Using a favorite article of clothing belonging to the loved one, Hospice of Santa Barbara volunteers handcraft an adorable stuffed bear or pillow to provide a tangible memory to be cherished. A small heart is lovingly sewn inside each bear. The Beloved Bear Program has created over 300 bears for our community.


Medical Award: Van Do-Reynoso, MPH, PhD

Van Do-Reynoso, MPH, PhD, is the Public Health Director for Santa Barbara County. Helping to coordinate our community’s response, Van has led the county through the ongoing pandemic and is a leading spokesperson in the Public Health Department. Her 12-to-15-hour daily shifts consist of coordinating response efforts, mitigating community needs, briefing elected officials, monitoring information from the state, and meeting with her response team.


Legacy Award: Gary Simpson

Gary Simpson is the owner and president of the Home Improvement Center, where he has helped provide critical support to many beloved local charities, including Hospice of Santa Barbara. Gary is a long-time supporter and champion of Hospice of Santa Barbara as is his partner, Jill Nida. Gary and his mother, Eleanor Simpson, both provided for Hospice of Santa Barbara in their estate plans and are members of Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Legacy Society.  Gary and Jill are also valued members of Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Shining Light Society.


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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