Dr. Peter Kovach spent 20 of his 33 years in oncology caring for patients at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. Dr. Kovach retired earlier this year and, as is tradition at WVCI, discussion among the physicians began over what to present him as a retirement gift.
For a man often described as compassionate and caring and who dedicated decades to his patients, they decided on the perfect gift—a beautifully crafted wooden bench placed trailside on Mount Pisgah for others to enjoy.
“Peter is an avid hiker. All of his days away from the clinic were spent hiking in the area or taking his dogs on long walks,” says Dr. Jeff Sharman, director of research at WVCI. “We liked the idea of a bench on Mount Pisgah because it is a place both he and many of his patients are likely to see it.”
The bench, crafted by local artist Dave Lemmon, was installed in late May. It is located on the main summit trail, about a quarter of a mile from the parking lot, and overlooks a magnificent view of the valley.
The wood was fitted together in a puzzle piece-type fashion, which is symbolic of the way Dr. Kovach has helped many patients connect the pieces of their cancer journey, from diagnosis to survivorship.
A plaque on the bench reads, “Dedicated to Dr. Peter Kovach. He gave a hand to many on their journey.”
“As an oncologist, Dr. Kovach provided safety, security and rest to many patients facing cancer—much like what a bench on Pisgah offers passing hikers,” Dr. Sharman said.