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Another Middletown Do-Gooder, Another Million For Riverview

A new donation of $1 million will be used to help fund the hospital's center for surgical excellence

When Riverview Medical Center unveiled its plans for a brand new surgical center not too long ago, officials of the Red Bank hospital were banking on support from the community to help soften the burden of the debt it would incur.

Just a week after announcing a $5 million donation, hospital officials announced another contribution that also hits the seven-figure mark — $1 million from a former hospital trustee and long-time philanthropic Middletown couple, George and Vita Kolber, who happen to know and live near the donors of the $5 million, Bob and Joan Rechnitz.

The Kolbers, of the Locust section of the township, donated the $1 million to help support construction of Riverview’s center for surgical excellence, a 22,000-square foot facility currently under construction at the hospital.

George Kolber is a past chairman of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees; Vita is a former schoolteacher. The pair has supported philanthropic efforts for years.

In addition to their contributions in the medical arena, the Kolbers have been specifically recognized for their involvement in charitable efforts with Monmouth University and Jumpstart, an early education organization that recruits college students and volunteers to work with preschoolers, according to a release from the hospital.

The two also privately administered educational scholarships and grants to underprivileged and inner city students, the release added.

“George and I are privileged to support Riverview Medical Center in this way, as our entire family recognizes what Riverview means to us and so many others in our community,” Vita said.

Tim Hogan, hospital president, said he hopes the recent donations will help spur others in the community to give to the hospital. So far, the two largest donations directed exclusively to the new center have come from people with ties to the hospital.

The Rechnitzes, who Hogan described as friends of the hospital, gave $5 million towards the new center, with a goal of having the money fund a new education facility that will come with the center. That facility, which will host seminars and symposiums, will have some public accessibility.

The completed center will dramatically upgrade the hospital’s surgical endeavors by including two sophisticated specialty surgical suits, a state-of-the-art conference center, and a renovated post-anesthesia care area, among other improvements.

“A gift of this stature lends additional honor and prestige to our already excellent surgical program,” Hogan said in a release. “The Kolber family’s generosity will go a long way in enabling Riverview to continue our journey over the last decade to bring the very best, highest quality health care to area residents in a comfortable setting that is caring and close to home.”

According to hospital officials, the hospital’s surgical volume has grown by more than 20 percent, prompting the need for the new center. Hogan said in a previous interview that Riverview has not seen a significant improvements made to its surgery center since the 1980s.

With the new expansion, however, Riverview expects the number of surgical cases it handles each year to grow, as much as 5.5 percent by 2013.

The new center is expected to open in 2012.

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