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2015 Heroes of Hospice of Santa Barbara Awards Luncheon: From left, Dr. Stephen Hosea, Alan Miller, Gerd Jordano, Catherine Remak, Kenny Slaught and David Selberg. (Hospice of Santa Barbara / photo)

Hospice of Santa Barbara honored three incredible individuals at its recent third annual Heroes of Hospice Awards Luncheon, recognizing how the recipients have lent their time and talents to make a significant difference both to the organization and to the community by advancing compassionate end-of-life care in Santa Barbara.

HSB held the third annual Heroes of Hospice awards luncheon Thursday, Sept. 24 at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort. The focal point of the event was the recognition of the “Heroes.”

Meet the Heroes

Stephen Hosea, M.D., Professional Award

Locally, Dr. Stephen Hosea became the point man for the battle against AIDS in the 1980s and ‘90s, and Hospice of Santa Barbara is thrilled to honor this pioneer in end of life education.

While untrained in providing hospice at the time of the AIDS outbreak, Dr. Hosea turned to late HSB CEO Gail Rink, who the doctor says helped him through these dark times. HSB has relied on Dr. Hosea’s expertise as well, and in 2002 he was named medical advisor for the HSB board of directors.

Now having practiced medicine for 40 years, Dr. Hosea spends the majority of his time at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital teaching resident physicians.

He says that one of the most important lessons he has to offer is how to advise and educate patients in their final days and their families — lessons he learned while battling the AIDS epidemic.

Specializing in treating infectious diseases, Dr. Hosea has been practicing in Santa Barbara since 1981. He graduated from Harvard University Medical School and completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Hosea is the past co-director of the Santa Barbara County HIV Clinic along with Andrew Gersoff, M.D.

Dr. Hosea is a clinical professor at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

He co-authored a training series called “Finding Meaning in Medicine”, which brings physicians together to assist them in holding to their values, humanity and excellence, as well as renewing their commitment to themselves, their patients and medicine.

Alan Miller, accepting the Philanthropist Award presented posthumously to H. Guy DiStefano

Former Hospice of Santa Barbara Foundation Trustee Alan Miller is accepting the Heroes of Hospice award on behalf of the late Hector Guy DiStefano, who left a substantial endowment to the HSB Foundation.

A certified public accountant, Miller has been operating his own firm since 1980. Among his clients was DiStefano, who had no children and left his fortune to several charities and nonprofits, including HSB.

DiStefano’s wealth was primarily from stock inherited by his late wife, Doris DiStefano.

“I am not the hero,” said Miller. “He is.”

The generous gift has allowed HSB to continue on its mission to provide compassionate care to the dying and bereavement counseling, making Miller and DiStefano true Heroes of Hospice.

Despite the sizeable fortune, DiStefano flew under the radar and enjoyed simple hobbies such as gardening and reading. He served as a pilot during World War II in the Army Air Corps, flying B-24 Liberators out of North Africa.

Miller has some 50 years in the accounting field and earned an impressive record of fostering company growth for a variety of companies, from start-ups to large businesses. He has been operating a private practice in Santa Barbara since 1980, specializing in small business and individual accounting, taxation and tax planning.

Catherine Remak, Volunteer Award

With over two decades of experience in radio broadcast, Catherine Remak has one of the most recognizable voices around. She co-hosts the long-running “Gary and Catherine in the Morning” on KLITE, owns CR Voice Productions and has lent her voice to thousands of television and radio commercials.

HSB is delighted to recognize her as one of their Heroes of Hospice because she has also become an advocate for the importance of hospice care and a “champion for nonprofits.”

Remak has served on the HSB board of directors and volunteered her services as an emcee for the annual HSB “Light Up A Life” ceremonies over the last 15 years.

She first came in contact with HSB in 2001 to utilize its services following the death of her father and was struck by the services HSB brings free of charge. With help from HSB, Remak was able to make it through a dark time in her life.

She continues to support HSB’s mission and refer community members to it.

She also works part-time at the Council for Alcoholism & Drug Abuse as director of corporate development and communications and has served on the boards of The Friendship Center, Make a Wish Foundation, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

Emeritus Board Recognition

Hospice of Santa Barbara will also recognize emeritus board members Gerd Jordano and Kenny Slaught at the Heroes of Hospice event.

Tickets for Heroes of Hospice may be purchased by calling 805.563.8820. For more information, visit HSB’s website.

HSB “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care-management services to those who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

It is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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