Henry “Hank J.” Carter steps out of church into the early heat of the day. His mind is on a thousand things and a thousand people, especially the people at Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

Carter, one could say, adopted the hospital back in the early ’70s after his best friend, Jada, took a bullet in the back. Jada and the over 1,000 patients at Coler-Goldwater were blessed that Carter stepped into their lives.

We recall our first visit to the hospital at Carter’s invitation back in the ’70s. The visit left us numb, much like when Carter made his first visit to the hospital to see Jada and Charles Grey, who passed away a couple of months ago. The next time we saw Carter was during the evening a few weeks later when a bunch of kids came scrambling through the doors of JHS Robert Wagner Youth & Adult Center on East 120th Street at First Avenue in East Harlem. He had organized a youth basketball program composed of kids from the Queensbridge Housing Projects, where he lived.

We learned Carter was raising money to get uniforms for the kids, as well as raising money for other things in his community. But utmost in his mind was that hospital and the kids we saw strapped to chairs to prevent them from harming themselves if they fell. There were few wheelchairs then if any. These children, like the scores of adults in the hospital, were prisoners.

So Carter, along with Pat and her sister Bernadette and their brother Andy Walker, joined Carter’s team that soon increased to dozens. They organized a basketball program and tournaments at the Reiss Community Center. The first thing they purchased was a wheelchair, then some more, then they set their sights on raising money to buy a van equipped for the disabled. Finally, the patients were able to get off the island, attend sporting events and go to the movies.

Then came the first Wheelchair Classic Basketball Tournament at Mater Cristi High School, which featured the top players from each borough in the city, including Bernard King, a former All-City, All-America at the University of Tennessee, NBA All-Star and a former Knick. The money from what became an annual event was used to purchase wheelchairs.

Today, Coler-Goldwater Hospital is recognized around the world for their Hank Carter-led innovations in equipment for wheelchair-bound patients. This is just the tip of the story that has led the NYC Health & Hospital Corporation Board of Directors to name the new facility in East Harlem “The Henry ‘Hank J.’ Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility.” Philanthropist? To be continued.