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Huckabee to be honored as St. Barnabas Hance Award winner

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

TV talk show host Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, is St. Barnabas Charities' 2014 Hance Award winner.

Huckabee, also a bass guitar player, Southern Baptist minister and potential 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, will speak at the charitable organization's fundraising 114th Founder's Day dinner at 7:30 p.m. May 1, at the Marriott Pittsburgh North in Cranberry. Tickets to the event are $300.

A private photo reception with Huckabee will precede the dinner, featuring Arkansas bourbon chicken. Tickets are $500 for the meet-and-greet session.

“I would like to meet and talk with him. I think he seems to be a very honest, trustworthy man,” said Richland Township Supervisor John Marshall.

“I think it would be good if he did run for president. I think he'd get a lot of support,” said Marshall, also treasurer of the Richland Republican Committee. “He's somebody I think the American people can trust.”

The Hance Award annually recognizes a nationally-known individual who exemplifies benevolence, patriotism and service to others.

The award also celebrates Gouverneur Hance, founder of St. Barnabas Health System, who espoused those ideals.

Hance, a lay Episcopalian brother, once begged on the streets of Pittsburgh for money to help the needy. He founded St. Barnabas Health System in a Third Avenue home with four beds for ill boys and men.

Past recipients of the Hance Award include Fred “Mister” Rogers, former First Lady Barbara Bush, entertainer Debbie Reynolds and former Pittsburgh Steelers Terry Bradshaw and Rocky Bleier.

“It's always good when the awardee is involved in something current,” said Valerie Wilden, president of St. Barnabas Charities.

Huckabee hosts the show “Huckabee” on the Fox News cable TV channel.

A native of Hope, Ark., and the first high school graduate in his family, Huckabee studied religion in college, and worked for televangelist James Robson before Huckabee served two terms as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007.

His father worked as a mechanic and firefighter. His mother worked as a gas company clerk.

Huckabee sought the Republican Party's nomination for president in 2008, but lost to Sen. John McCain.

“Everybody loved (Ronald) Reagan because when he talked, he believed what he said,” Marshall said. “I think Huckabee is that kind of guy.”

George “Skip” Allen, also a Richland supervisor, admires Huckabee, too.

“I appreciate his ideology,” Allen said. “He's a common sense guy. I think he understands how our country works.”

St. Barnabas Charities hopes to raise $100,000 through the 114th Founder's Day dinner for St. Barnabas Free Care Fund, which annually pays for more than $6 million in free care for needy patients served by St. Barnabas Health System.

A silent auction at 6:30 p.m. May 1 will precede the Founder's Day dinner. Items available for bid include a trip to France and getaway to a condominium in Crested Butte, Colo. More than 200 wrapped bottles of wine also will be available for random selection by folks who buy a $25 ticket for the wine lottery.

Reservations are requested by April 22. For information, call 724-625-3770 or visit St. Barnabas Charities online at www.stbarnabascharities.com.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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