Less than a week after announcing the funding of The Memory Center (see separate story), the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey paid tribute to two men who — its leaders said — embodied the organization’s ideals of caring and humanism in the practice of healing.
The presentations came at the foundation’s annual dinner, held July 18 at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston.
The first citation, presented to United States Air Force Retired Master Sergeant Rod East, was the Amster Bornstein Veteran’s Award for Humanism in Healthcare.
East, who is studying for a master’s degree in social work at Rutgers University, was cited for using his military experience to counsel veterans suffering from trauma, stress, depression, and the effects of sexual assault.
The award he received is named for two of the foundation’s original trustees. One is the late Richard Amster, a highly decorated Navy veteran from Morristown who fought Japanese troops in World War II. Amster died in April at the age of 94.
The award’s other namesake is Lester Bornstein of West Orange, who received a Bronze Star for his service in the war’s Battle of the Bulge.
Bornstein is a former president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center who helped arrange the 1996 sale of the hospital; profits from the sale were used to establish the foundation.
After accepting the award, East praised the foundation “for what you do. It is about everything I did in the military. I served those underprivileged people you see every day walking on our streets.”
The namesake of the second award, the Lester Z. Lieberman Legacy Award for Humanism, was the Newark Beth Israel board chair at the time of its sale. He died in 2013. The award was presented to Thomas Krever, CEO of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
Since 1979, Krever’s organization has provided schooling, counseling, and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other young people in New York and New Jersey who question their sexual identities. It creates “a safe and supportive environment in which to thrive,” says the group’s website.
As he accepted his glass plaque, Krever said his organization “was so incredibly grateful” to the foundation for its support. “But on the other hand, it is a sad state of how much we still need to do this work” fighting discrimination and homophobia.
In addition, 37 workers from 26 health-care institutions in the Greater MetroWest area received the 2016 Humanism in Healthcare Awards from the foundation.