Police, Fire Chiefs Receive Spirit of St. Mary Award

LONG BEACH Fire Chief Xavier Espino, Carolyn Caldwell, CEO St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach Police Chief Wally Hebeish

“When we call for help, you come”, said Carolyn Caldwell, President/CEO of Dignity Health - St. Mary Medical Center. “You make Long Beach a better and safe place to live, work, and play!”

With that, Ms. Caldwell made the first-ever presentations of The Spirit of St. Mary Award. The recipients were Long Beach Chief of Police, Wally Hebeish for his department, and Chief Xavier Espino for the Long Beach Fire Department.

The event was held on Friday, Dec. 9 at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach with more than 200 people in attendance.

Chief Hebeish and Chief Espino spoke with obvious emotion as each accepted the award. Both expressed gratitude for the long-standing relationships their departments have with St. Mary Medical Center. “When our uniformed officers are injured, you are the ones who treat them”, shared LBPD Chief Heibeish. “We honor the quality of the care they receive and the great compassion with which that care is administered”.

St. Mary Chief Philanthropy Officer, Michael Neils, introduced The Spirit of St. Mary Award to the audience. “When our parent company, Dignity Health, formulated its tagline, it created a new word, HumanKindness. The idea behind the word is simple and yet immensely profound. Every human person is a unity of body, mind and spirit. This means that every person has the power and potential to bring healing to others.

In presenting the awards to the two Chiefs, Ms. Caldwell remarked, “The Spirit of St. Mary Award is presented to those who live HumanKindness. We are honored to present this brand new award to the heroes of the Police Department and the Fire Department.”

The Long Beach Police Department was founded Jan. 30, 1888. It currently has 823 sworn officers and a total staff of 1,200. The Department responds to approximately 590 calls for service daily, or 214,000 annually. The Fire Department was founded on March 16, 1897. It is served by 405 professional firefighters; 25 Marine Safety officers; and 283 civilian employees, including ambulance operators and lifeguards. From 23 fire stations, the department responds to more than 5,000 calls (911) per month and more than 60,000 every year.

Dignity Health - St. Mary Medical Center will be observing its centennial year in 2023. Dignity Health hospitals in Southern California are part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people.


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