REM Award Honorees (2002) — Richard Delaware (Inland Hospital)

Inland Hospital, like every not-for-profit organization, depends on volunteers. These men, women, and teens donate countless hours and endless energy helping the people who are part of our hospital—staff, patients, and visitors.

There are no doubt days when they’d rather be on the golf course or watching Oprah, but they commit to being here. Their pay is our gratitude, lunch, and the annual banquet.

They tell us that they get as much as they give. They feel valuable, because they are. They feel appreciated, because they are. They feel a part of something important to the community, because they certainly are.

We are here tonight to honor all of our volunteers by putting the spotlight on one of them who epitomizes the spirit of volunteering.

Dick Delaware, who lives in Fairfield, spent 31 years working for what used to be the Keyes Fibre Company. After he retired, he found more time to spend time with the light of his life, his wife, Jeannine, and his children—Linda, Donna, Gary, Catherine, James, Jeanie, and Jennifer—and his grandchildren.

He’s a self-proclaimed sports nut and plays as much golf as he can. He hadn’t really thought about doing something else—like volunteering—after his retirement.

When his son-in-law Calvin Poulin, a radiology technician at Inland, suggested that he volunteer for us, Dick says he was “kind of skeptical at first.” He had done a little volunteering for the Elks Club and a couple of times at the soup kitchen but he says he didn’t know whether he’d fit in at the hospital.

Turned out to be a terrific fit. People who have come to Inland in recent months and have been greeted by Dick Delaware know what it is to feel welcome. Dick hands out one of his fantastic smiles, asks what they need, and ushers them to wherever they need to go.

But that’s not all he does. Staff call on him to run what he calls his “little errands of mercy.” Both Inland Hospital and Dick Delaware have benefited from the match.

“I love it,” he says, “I wish I’d have done it sooner.”

We do, too. And we hope he’ll stay for a long, long time.

For more information about Inland Hospital, please visit its website.

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