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Former GOP presidential candidate Huckabee honored at gala supporting St. Barnabas

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joins the band and plays bass at the St. Barnabas Charities Founder's Day 2014 event at the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry Township on Thursday evening, May 1, 2014. Gov. Huckabee was this year's recipient of the Gouverneur P. Hance Award, a prestigious award named after the founder of St. Barnabas, presented annually to a person of national acclaim who exemplifies Hance's ideals of benevolence, patriotism, and service to others.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

More than 400 people attended St. Barnabas Charities' 114th Founder's Day fundraiser and gala on Thursday night in Cranberry.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former presidential candidate who finished second in the 2008 race for the Republican nomination, served as featured speaker and received the Hance Award, named for St. Barnabas founder Gouverneur P. Hance.

Huckabee, an accomplished musician, also played bass guitar with The Entertainers Jazz Band.

Referring to St. Barnabas' lengthy history and the $100 million-plus that its Free Care Fund has provided in charity medical care, Huckabee said, “That is a remarkable testament to the generosity of this community.”

Tribune-Review owner Dick Scaife served as honorary dinner chairman. St. Barnabas gave him a certificate of appreciation.

St. Barnabas Charities is the nonprofit fundraising arm of St. Barnabas Health System.

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser and gala benefit the St. Barnabas Free Care Fund, which provides charity medical care, medicine and other support for disabled men and women and the elderly.

This year's crowd was the largest in the history of the event. Last year's gala drew about 370 people and helped St. Barnabas Charities raise more than $6 million in 2013, spokeswoman Shelli Sommariva said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media.

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