Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, was named the first Person of the Year by Lee Pitts, host and executive producer of the award-winning “Lee Pitts Live,” the longest-running local television talk show in Southwest Florida.

Beckwith’s recognition is the first Person of the Year designation awarded in the show’s 20-year history. Viewers can watch Pitts present the award to Beckwith during the show’s broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 8:30 a.m. on Fox 4.

“In selecting our first Lee Pitts Live Person of the Year for 2013, we wanted to make sure that the person we selected set the standard for years to come,” said Pitts. “Samira was an easy and clear choice for the award because of her many accomplishments in leading Hope HealthCare Services, as well as her national leadership in the hospice field. I am honored to have Samira carry this new torch.”

Beckwith didn’t know about the award when she appeared in the studio to tape the program with Pitts in mid-December.

“I couldn’t have been more surprised, or feel more honored, to be recognized as Lee’s first Person of the Year,” said Beckwith. “It is truly a privilege to serve this community and to participate in the national conversation about health care and hospice. I am fortunate to lead the team of exceptional, dedicated caregivers at Hope who make a meaningful difference every day for individuals in our care and their families.”

Beckwith took the helm at Hope more than 20 years ago, expanding the organization’s base from serving fewer than 100 individuals a day in Fort Myers to a comprehensive health care organization caring for nearly 2,000 individuals daily. Hope now spans six counties with four state-of-the-art hospice houses, 1,100 employees, 1,200 volunteers, a dozen offices, and three Hope Care Centers where seniors can go during the day for activities, meals, care and companionship.

Beckwith serves on the boards of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, National PACE Association, National Hospice Foundation, and Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association. She is vice chair of the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship and is the founding president of the Florida PACE Association. Beckwith served as a state delegate to the White House Conference on Aging and was a governor’s appointee to the Long-Term Care Policy Advisory Council for Florida.

Previously, Beckwith has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America, and The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Alumni Medalist Award, the organization’s highest honor.