Born in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley, Ridge was raised in a working-class family. He earned a scholarship to Harvard University and after his first year of law school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. Known for his commitment to high standards and results, he was two-time governor of Pennsylvania and became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. He went on to become the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. President George W. Bush stated “he had the strength, experience, and personal commitment and authority to accomplish this critical mission.” This engaging and dynamic leader with an extraordinary record of public service understands that teamwork is essential to overcoming obstacles and challenges. Ridge is also the founder and CEO of Ridge Global, a security consulting firm.
Festivities for St. Barnabas Charities’ Founder’s Day will begin Thursday, May 2 with a 10 a.m. Welcoming Ceremony at St. Barnabas Nursing Home, 5827 Meridian Road. Ridge will be greeted by William V. Day, president of St. Barnabas Health System, who will present him with a key to the St. Barnabas campus followed by a tour. During the ceremony the Pine-Richland High School student chosen through the St. Barnabas Charities Founder’s Day Essay Contest will read his or her winning essay on the topic of Homeland Security and Veterans to Ridge and an audience of United States Veterans living at St. Barnabas’ retirement communities, living assistance and nursing facilities.
That evening, Ridge will be the featured speaker at a fundraising dinner at the Marriott Pittsburgh North in Cranberry Twp. The evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 724-443-0700 ext. 5258 or by visiting www.stbarnabashealthsystem.com. Proceeds benefit the St. Barnabas Free Care Fund, which in 2012 alone provided more than $4.5 million in free care to poor and low-income patients at St. Barnabas Nursing Home, Valencia Woods at St. Barnabas and The Arbors at St. Barnabas.
At the conclusion of the evening, Day will present Ridge with the Hance Award, named for St Barnabas founder Gouverneur P. Hance (1871-1954), the lay Episcopalian brother who founded St. Barnabas in 1900 as a refuge for incurably ill men and boys who could not afford their care. Each year, the Hance Award is presented to a person of national acclaim who exemplifies Hance’s ideals of benevolence, patriotism and service to others. Among the past Hance Award recipients are entertainer Debbie Reynolds, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, first lady Barbara Bush, astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin and President Gerald Ford.
St. Barnabas Health System is the largest health care concern of its kind in Pennsylvania and offers service apart from the ordinary in a faith-based, non-denominational setting. Tracing its heritage back to 1900, the system serves approximately 900 inpatients and residents, plus 43,500 outpatients and home care clients. The health system is composed of the St. Barnabas Communities, a continuing care retirement community including The Village at St. Barnabas, The Washington Place at St. Barnabas, The Woodlands at St. Barnabas and White Tail Ridge; St. Barnabas Clinical Services, including St. Barnabas Nursing Home, St. Barnabas Medical Center, Valencia Woods at St. Barnabas and The Arbors at St. Barnabas; and St. Barnabas Charities, the fund-raising arm, which includes the Kean Theatre and Rudolph Auto Repair.