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Rachel and Charles Bernheim honored for extraordinary philanthropy by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation


SALISBURY, N.C., June 9, 2017 – Rachel and Charles Bernheim were presented with the 2017 Wilson L. Smith Philanthropic Award by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation. The couple graciously accepted the award during the June 8 donor appreciation and recognition dinner held at Catawba College Peeler Crystal Lounge. This award is presented annually to individuals in recognition of their exceptional philanthropy.

The Bernheim’s were presented the prestigious award to honor their extensive charitable work. With a home in New York and the family home in Salisbury, Rachel and Charles support both communities.

Rachel Oestreicher Bernheim comes from a family of generous individuals. The Oestreicher name is well known in Salisbury. Her father, Irvin Oestreicher, owned Oestreicher’s store, which remained a town landmark through the 1960s. He was a charter member of the Rowan Memorial Hospital Board of Directors from 1936 until his death more than 50 years later. A Novant Health MRI unit is named in his memory. Rachel’s mother, Bert, contributed to many hospital auxiliary projects, and together, the couple established the Oestreicher Service Awards, an important hospital employee recognition program.

In Rachel’s own work as founder and chairman of the human rights organization Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States, she continues to keep the memory alive of Raoul Wallenberg, a humanitarian who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Rachel’s work has taken her all over the world and earned her the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, the highest award a foreigner can receive in Sweden.

Charles, a senior managing director of Bear, Stearns & Co. of New York before his retirement, also grew up in a charitable family. His parents, Leonard and Elinor Bernheim, instilled in Charles the importance of giving back and being involved in the community.

The couple joins an esteemed list of recipients including:

Mrs. Xzantippa “Tippie” Miller (2016); Dr. and Mrs. Chris Agner (2015); Mr. and Mrs. James M. Freeman (2014); Mr. and Mrs. Bill Stanback (2013); Mr. Ralph W. Ketner (2012); Mrs. Frances “Billy” H. Johnson (2011); Blanche and Julian Robertson family (2010); Miles Smith Jr. family (2009); Larry and Susan Cloninger (2008); Rowan Regional Medical Center Auxiliary (2007); Legacy Award – Mr. and Mrs. Wilson L. Smith (2006); Mr. and Mrs. Fred J. Stanback Jr.(2005); Dr. and Mrs. Dennis L. Hill (2004); Dr. and Mrs. James C. Johnson (2003); Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Fisher (2002); Dr. and Mrs. John H. Bumgarner and Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Cook Jr.(2001); Mr. and Mrs. Gordon P. Hurley and Mrs. and Mrs. James F. Hurley III (2000); Mrs. Elizabeth C. Stanback (1999); Mr. and Mrs. Elias A. Saleeby (1998); Mrs. Evelyn F Harrison, Dr. and Mrs. Robert L. Hudson and Mr. and Mrs. Edward T. Taylor (1997); Dr. and Mrs. Wayne A. Cline Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. Snider Jr. (1996); Dr. and Mrs. Glenn A. Kiser, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson L. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald L. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Timothy R. Smith (1995).

Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center Foundation