The Scene | Fairview Gala Gleams with Gold

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GREAT BARRINGTON — There's nothing better than spending an evening with people who care for and about people. Their compassion, drive and support of the community is a marked example of humanitarianism.

One such evening took place Saturday, Sept. 16, at the 2017 Fairview Hospital Gala, under ethereal white tents dotted in candlelight, where a crowd of doctors, nurses, caregivers, administrator, board members and grateful patients dined on a smorgasbord of delectable dishes to pay tribute to Dr. Joseph Gold. Gold, an ophthalmologist at Fairview, was the gala's honorary chairman.

"Dr. Joseph Gold is a physician who exemplifies the high standard of clinical care we offer, and the outstanding level of personal care that sets patient care at Fairview apart," said Eugene Dellea, president of Fairview Hospital and BMC Hillcrest Campus. "Tonight, we are proud to honor Dr. Gold, who represents the vision of every member of Fairview Hospital."

Gold, a 1975 graduate of Williams College, received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1979. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Berkshire Medical Center before completing his residency in ophthalmology at Montefiore Medical Center on the Einstein campus.

In 2001, Gold moved to the Berkshires where he began his private practice, Gold Ophthalmologic Associates, in a "long and rewarding relationship" with Fairview Hospital. In 2010, Gold was joined by Dr. Diane Singer. In 2016, Gold Ophthalmologic Associates merged with Berkshire Eye Center. A gifted musician, Gold played trombone with the Williams Brass and Jazz Ensembles and currently plays the piano with the Release the Penguins Jazz Quartet, which played at the gala.

Handing out tickets, commemorative pens and booklets packed with message of thanks during the dinner were three vibrant and enthused ladies, Gala Committee members Fran Premerlani, Wendy Dottavio and Chris McDermott.

More than 400 individuals attended the dinner, while an evening of comedy featuring Paula Poundstone at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, sold out, filling close to 700 theater seats. Show-only tickets were priced at $53, while two tiers of tickets for the show and the dinner were offered for $175 and $500.

Throughout the evening, Lauren Smith, Fairview's director of community relations and development, and Amy Rudnick, event planner, floated about accommodating guests.

Dr. Pier Boutin, an orthopedic surgeon at Fairview Hospital, spoke with great esteem about the event and the hospital: "I think this is absolutely wonderful how the community can come together. Fairview Hospital is key to this little town and I love working at Fairview."

After a meal that included fine wines from Domaney's Wines and Liquors and decadent desserts presented by Marketplace Catering, guests strolled across the street to the Mahaiwe, where an informative, heartwarming and humorous film by Ben Hillman and Co. was shown in honor of Gold and his service through the years, showcasing the honoree in his formative years of music and medicine.

Dellea, offered the events opening remarks, thanking the hospital's board of trustees, senior management and staff.

Dellea said, "This is our 19th gala and over all these years, we have realized over $2 million. This year, we realize $70,000 out of $250,000 for our radiology department."

Recalling a past conversation with the night's honoree, Dellea recounted the conversation in which Gold said, "Gene, do you think I'll be able to make a living in Southern Berkshire? And what about the equipment? I need all the latest equipment to work with."

Dellea said that Gold didn't have too much to worry about because the Fairview Hospital gala that year provided the necessary funds to provide the equipment he needed.

Additional remarks were given provided by Dr. Adrian Elliot, chief of emergency medicine. and state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli.

"Fairview Hospital is like family," Pignatelli said. I'd like to ask all of you now, are we blessed to have Fairview Hospital here?"

At one point in his remarks, Pignatelli said, "I can't read my notes," at which point Gold handed over a pair of super-sized glasses.

At that point, Pignatelli said, "I think I need cataract surgery," prompting a roar of laughter from the audience.

Gold thanked those who made the evening possible.

"Wow," Gold said, "thank you all for coming out tonight. I'm really, totally overwhelmed for this honor. This honor, I share with everyone here — my colleagues and the members of all the staff ... ."

Paula Poundstone, the comedian, author, actor and commentator, was the headline performer at the event.

"The doctors here are so good, I could fall off this stage right now!" Poundstone declared.

Reflecting on the entertaining and heartfelt evening, Gold said, "One of the intangibles we talk about is healing. And healing is a very complex issue. We all know that it involves technology and knowledge, but the other intangible is how you feel as a person, how you feel when you're taken care of. And Fairview Hospital surpasses every expectation. Fairview has your back."

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