PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Giving back is part of the holiday season and a program that’s been around for 30 years is helping to put smiles on the faces of nursing home residents across several states.
Presents for Patients has grown tremendously over the years and reaches thousands of patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
This year, they ended their 30th season at Trees Manor in Gibsonia, giving a very special present to a very special patient.
Donnie Hersh has made Saint Barnabas his home for the last 33 years. He’s become family and always greets everyone with a smile.
That gift was repaid today.
This year, he was presented with a very special gift from Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife, Susan, both of whom are honorary co-chairs of Saint Barnabas Charities’ Presents for Patients.
“In the spirit of the season that we are in, to be able to be give presents to patients with gifts, Saint Barnabas does a great job,” Gov. Corbett said.
“Probably 75 to 80 percent of patients we see don’t have anyone who visits them, otherwise they would not have a present at Christmas time,” Jim Roddey of Saint Barnabas said.
Since the program began 30 years ago, gifts and visits have been provided to almost 500,000 patients across six states.
Hersh received the honor to receive the final gift of the season.
However, he told KDKA-TV’s Heather Abraham in secret what he really had on his wish list.
“I would like to have a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader,” Hersh said.
Staff at Saint Barnabas said this year they can’t think of more deserving person to receive the honor of the last gift.
“He just went through a big surgery so for him to be on this side of it this time of year is good,” Allison Schnur of Saint Barnabas said.
Gov. Corbett thanked everyone for their donations and time, which helped make this season of giving a success.
A total of 14,000 presents were wrapped and given to patients across six states.