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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 12:26 am

Born with the heart of a healer

RAY “BEN” BENSON HAGER Oct. 12, 1961 – Jan. 10, 2016

RAY “BEN” BENSON HAGER
I wish you could have known him. But then again, perhaps you did … or perhaps he touched your life – or the life of someone you love – and you never knew it. For you see, Ben Hager was born with the heart of a healer.

Ben spent his life helping others. He cared for his mother when she became ill, he gave his heart to his employees and their families, and he loved his children in a way that made the word “love” become so very real and take on a life all its own. In all aspects of his life, Ben’s heart was always present for others. And as he chose a profession, he chose one that allowed him to give of his head, his heart and his hands – and we became the fortunate ones.

Ben had the “privilege,” to use his words, of managing the department of Respiratory Therapy at Memorial Medical Center for many of his more than 30 years of employment there. He once shared with me that the word “inspire” can be translated into “to breathe air into.” He was honored to work with professionals for whom breathing air or life into another human being was not a metaphor … it was not just their job … it was their passion … indeed, it was their very reason for being.

Ben had dreams for his department, and dreams for all of us who might be patients. He strove to ensure that those of us who entrusted our breath – indeed, our very lives, to Memorial – were treated with a human, healing touch, and that we would know we were cared for by the very best of professionals.

Ben’s professional dream for himself? It was to continue to inspire his team – to breathe air into them as they were called upon to heal and to dedicate himself to improving the quality of life for people that he would never meet.

If you will, do me a favor … every now and then, when you take a deep breath … think of Ben Hager – and breathe life into someone you love.

I wish you could have known him. I am so blessed that I did.

–Diane Newell, special friend

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