REM Award Honorees (2003) — Karen Bakal (Inland Hospital)

Inland Hospital, like every not-for-profit organization, depends on volunteers. These people—in all ages and stages of life—sacrifice time that they could spend enjoying themselves or working for pay, but they commit to working with us. 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.

Volunteers who choose to join the Inland team must be special, willing to give more of themselves than might be expected in other places. We are here tonight to honor all of our volunteers by putting the spotlight on one of them who epitomizes the spirit of volunteering.

Such a volunteer is Karen Bakal. Karen lives in Waterville with her husband Sam. She and her family moved to Maine from Queens, New York in 1985. She has an associate’s degree in accounting, but following the birth of their son Scott, who now lives in Virginia, she became a full-time homemaker. She reads avidly, enjoys rug hooking, is learning to knit, and helps Sam with his hobby of collecting baseball memorabilia.

Karen came to Inland as a quiet, shy woman who wasn’t sure she could help others. What she has done is amazing. Karen has made jobs and lives easier throughout the hospital. She tackles every project with a quiet, methodical persistence, working as long as it takes until it meets her very high standards. If we have missed something or misspelled someone’s name, we can be sure that she will very tactfully bring it to our attention.

Karen gets a great deal of pleasure from doing things for others. When asked to sit with a patient, she will visit for a short while, learn about the patient’s special interests, then find something that will entertain or please him.

With her keen attention to others, Karen picks up subtle signals and always offers a kind word and thoughtful support. She has become invaluable to the staff of Inland, to the patients, and to the patients’ families. We are proud to honor her this evening.

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

Skip to toolbar