Providence honors men of big Hearts

HEARTS of Gold recipients Dr. Paul Hamada, left, and Don Benton.

HEARTS of Gold recipients Dr. Paul Hamada, left, and Don Benton.

More than 170 people, many in tears, stood to applaud Dr. Paul Hamada and Don Benton, the Hearts of Gold recipients for 2014, in Saturday’s event at Hood River Best Western Inn, according to Susan Frost of the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation, which each year honors a community member and a health care professional “whose golden hearts shine brightly.”

The annual Hearts of Gold Celebration benefits an expansion of cancer services offered at Providence. In addition to honoring Benton and Hamada, over $50,000 was raised on Satuarday.

Benton is well known in the Columbia Gorge for volunteering his time. After 26 years in the Navy and 10 years working civilian jobs, he decided to continue working – just not for money. He joined his first non-profit board in 2001 and now is a member of more than a dozen non-profit boards and advisory committees for such organizations as The Next Door, Inc., Opportunity Connections, Helping Hands Against Violence and United Way. He truly gives his time, talent and treasure to improve the quality of life for individuals in our community.

Dr. Hamada changed the lives of people in our community through more than 40 years of service as a physician in Hood River. In 1970, he was one of just eight physicians practicing in our area. There are now more than 100. He helped establish an emergency room, intensive care unit and other services.

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