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Article published December 29, 2012
St. Barnabas gets visit by governor
VALENCIA — Gov. Tom Corbett capped off another successful season of St. Barnabas' Presents for Patients program at a ceremony Thursday. Corbett has been a frequent guest of the health care system over the years and will chair next year's version of the Presents for Patients program. In its 29th year, the program brightens the holidays for long-term care residents by matching them with a volunteer who personally delivers a gift. The program dispersed more than 30,000 gifts this year to people in 357 locations across six states. Corbett came to the Crystal Conservatories facility on St. Barnabas' Valencia campus to hand out the symbolic final gift of the campaign, a gift given to 84-year-old resident Lois Siess. The event took on a Hawaiian theme as Corbett presented Siess with a picture book and other island-themed gifts. In a short speech, Corbett said he wished he could bottle up all the goodwill and cheer of the holidays. He said he could use a little of both during strenuous times in Harrisburg, particularly during budget season and other contentious political debates. “It's always great to be here,” he said. “A place where people give a great deal of sharing and caring.” Other politicians, such as state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-40th, and former Allegheny County executive Jim Roddey, were also present. The Presents for Patients program has exploded in growth since its inception in 1984, when St. Barnabas Charities gave out 450 gifts. With Corbett at the helm chairing the event next year, officials said they expect an even bigger program.