With a blue lei around his neck, Gov. Tom Corbett presented the final gift of the Presents for Patients 2012 season Thursday at a Hawaiian-themed Christmas celebration at St. Barnabas' Valencia campus.
Lois Siess, an 84-year-old great-grandmother who lives at The Arbors at St. Barnabas, received a picture book about Hawaii, suntan lotion, a beach towel and hat. The gift honored her fond memories of a trip to Hawaii with her late husband, Richard.
"Oh how nice," Siess exclaimed as she opened her present. "I'll have a lot of enjoyment going through this. ... I'll remember this forever."
In addition to presenting the final gift for the 2012 season, the governor and his wife, Susan, were named honorary chairs for the 2013 Presents for Patients campaign.
The finale for the Presents for Patients 2012 campaign was held at the Crystal Conservatories on St. Barnabas' Valencia campus, where Tuika performed Hawaiian music poolside.
The program's goal is to brighten the holidays for long-term care residents by matching them with a visitor who personally delivers a gift.
Founded in 1984, Presents for Patients has grown from its initial 450 gifts and visits to 30,829 in 2012.
The program serves patients in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Tennessee and South Carolina.
As Presents for Patients spokesperson Valerie Day Wilden ended the program by wishing attendees a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, she noted:
"Christmas 2013 is only 363 days away."