Riverside Foundation Announces 2023 Provider and Citizens of the Year

August 16, 2023
Dr. James Lesnick and Mr. Bill Downey and Mrs. Carol Downey

The Riverside Foundation is proud to announce its 2023 Provider of the Year James Lesnick, M.D. and its 2023 Citizens of the Year Bill & Carol Downey

Dr. Lesnick was Senior Vice President for Business and Venture Development at Riverside Health System. Prior to this role, he served as Senior Vice President/Medical Director of Riverside Medical Group and was a practicing neurosurgeon for many years in our communities helping Riverside become a nationally recognized leader in neuroscience clinical care. Dr. Lesnick was the first Chair of the Board of Directors of Riverside Medical Group from 2007-2009 and was instrumental in building the Riverside Medical Group and its culture. He has also served on the board of directors of many local organizations. 

Recognizing the power that philanthropy can have on elevating patient care, he has been a long-time advocate for the Riverside Foundation through leadership gifts to support Neurosciences, Lifelong Health and other Make a Difference Funds. He and his wife, Trina, reside in Williamsburg and White Stone.

Bill and Carol Downey have been pillars in their community for many years and are longtime philanthropists.  After nearly forty years of service to Riverside Health System, Bill announced that he would step down as Chief Executive Officer at the end of 2022, and began serving in his current role of Executive Vice Chairman until his full retirement in 2024.  During Bill’s tenure, Riverside saw significant growth through expansion of services, the use of digital technologies and programs to benefit team members, patients, residents, and the broader Hampton Roads community.

Carol is a cornerstone in her own right, having been involved as both a volunteer and leader in several causes throughout Riverside and the community. Carol has played an instrumental role in ensuring the right care is available for every patient, especially in the areas of cancer care, caregiver support and pet therapy. Her many years of support for causes and building relationships throughout Riverside have left a lasting impression and Carol's voice of guidance and leadership will always be critical to the many ways Riverside goes one step further in supporting our communities.

Both Bill and Carol are lifelong champions of healthcare, supporting many areas across Riverside through charitable giving.  Close to their hearts are two scholarships at the Riverside College of Health Careers. The Anne Talbot Evans Memorial Scholarship and the Gerald R. Brink Radiology scholarship. Established in 2013 and 2016 respectively, the Anne Talbot Evans scholarship honors Carol’s mother’s lifelong work and dedication to surgical services and the Gerald R. Brink scholarship honors longtime RRMC administrator Jerry Brink and his passion for education. 

On March 15, 2024, the Riverside Foundation will honor these three champions at RemarkaBall at the Newport News Marriott at City Center. This annual premier event, attended by Foundation supporters, patients and their families, elected officials, corporate partners, and Riverside leaders, aims to strengthen services while honoring all of Riverside’s nearly 10,000 team members – true healthcare heroes who make a remarkable impact. 

Visit riversideonline.com/foundation/events for information on sponsorships, tickets and tables and other ways to celebrate these remarkable honorees. The Riverside Foundation can be contacted at 757-234-8740.