REM Award Honorees (2016) — Charlie Kelly (PFLAG Waterville)

Charlie Kelly, in partnership with his recently-deceased wife Carol, has had a keen interest in people and institutions being more inclusive of LGBTQ persons. The 30-year relationship he and his wife enjoyed with their gay daughter and her partner explains their desire to offer comfort, support and knowledge to parents and friends who want to understand homosexuality in order to protect and strengthen their relationships. Familiar with the PFLAG mission: “. . . Celebrate diversity and envision a society that embraces everyone including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities”, Charlie decided to pursue the creation of a PFLAG chapter for this area, and eventually PFLAG Waterville was formed.

Charlie “dream caught” with REM’s “Dream Catcher,” Faye Nicholson and PFLAG Waterville became a REM Community Initiative working under the support of the REM umbrella (support teams working to nurture the Initiatives of REM). After five years of developing a local PFLAG, the group officially incorporated in Maine of 2015. Faye speaks of her experience of working with Charlie:

“Although most of my dream catching is about working with people’s passions to make the world a better place, no one has ever moved me with their depth of caring more than Charlie Kelly. He is probably one of the kindest men on the face of the planet and has a sense of humor second to none. Working with him is always a delight. He’s also very serious about his work and never hesitates to take on more. The work of PFLAG to keep families together is one of REM’s finest moments. And it was, is, and always will be all about Charlie’s love of wife Carol, family and the human experience.”

For more information about PFLAG Waterville, visit its website.

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