If you ever wanted to find a group of individuals who understands the true meaning of giving and philanthropy, they were at El Niguel Country Club on February 4, 2016.

This is where Saddleback Medical Center Foundation hosted its annual Heritage & Friends Luncheon, honoring two groups of donors, Heritage Society members and Friends of the Foundation.

“This group of donors is very special to us,” said Cecilia Belew, Saddleback Medical Center Foundation President. “They have realized the importance of giving back to their community hospital, which enables us to purchase important equipment and significantly improve patient care. The impact of their gifts will be felt long into their future.”

Heritage Society members include supporters who have contributed to the Foundation through estate bequests, wills or other planned gifts. Friends of the Foundation have given $1,000 or more in the past year.

Belew honored the newest Heritage Society members: Joseph Doria of Aliso Viejo, Ed and Kathy Harcharik of Foothill Ranch, and Leslie Ann Palm of Laguna Woods.

Another highlight of the event was guest speaker Dr. Gracie-Ann Dinkins. A MemorialCare trauma surgeon, Dinkins — who is of Liberian descent — gave a riveting presentation about her humanitarian trip to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis to aid medical workers and care for patients. Guests were moved by her personal calling to make this journey, even in dire conditions that put her own health at risk.

“The afternoon was truly about celebrating how philanthropy is about more than just monetary gifts — it’s about sacrifice and being a part of something bigger than yourself,” Belew said.