Getting our glow back

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Thank you, Liberty Mutual!

Doing something nice for someone makes you feel good all over, doesn’t it?  But what if you did that nice thing over and over again, day in and day out?  Would it still feel as special?  To the person you’re helping, yes, but over time, the glow of service might dull just a little for you personally.

Now, what if the shoe were on the other foot?  You, the person constantly doing nice things, suddenly become the recipient of a random act of kindness.  One that blows your socks off and renews your faith in the common decency of your fellow human beings?  Sounds like a good position to be in, right?  Well, that’s what happened to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region just last week.

Some background first.  Did you know that Liberty Mutual Insurance Company has been around for 100 years??  (Stick with me here.  It will all tie together, I promise.)  I certainly didn’t know they had such longevity.  But what’s really great about this company is that, instead of having a big party to commemorate the anniversary, they celebrated by giving back to the local communities that they serve.  On Thursday and Friday last week, across the country, Liberty Mutual employees were stepping away from their desks and getting their hands dirty (and their arms, and their legs, and their clothes . . . .) and participating in community service projects. 

Liberty Mutual had a plethora of community service opportunities posted on their intranet site and about fifty folks chose to help out HPCCR.  Some came because they’d had a personal experience with hospice.  Some came simply because their friends had signed up.  The reason was not important.  They had arrived for duty.

And boy did we put them to work!  They were painting, weeding, washing windows, painting, removing graffiti, bug spraying, painting, power washing, and, you guessed it, painting.  They worked on two buildings — our existing South Charlotte office and our newest location, the library on Walsh Avenue, right down the road (literally) from our South Charlotte office.  The library has been out of action for a while, sitting empty, so there was no lack of tasks for this group to tackle.

When I saw them on Friday, the Mutual Liberty volunteers were grimy and sweaty (many of them covered in paint), and they appeared to be having a blast, even though the temperatures were soaring.  And that day, bless their hearts, the air conditioning in the library had switched off for some unknown reason, and it was just as miserable inside the building as it was outside.  But these folks were happy.  (And it was more than just paint fumes causing the silly grins.) 

I think that we can all agree that there is immense satisfaction derived from a job well done.  Last week, the employees from Liberty Mutual went home happily exhausted.  They used muscles that don’t get worked too often when sitting in front of a computer all day.  They got dirty and sweaty, but they got to see immediate results of their hard labor.  They knew they’d probably be sore for a week, but those twinges would remind them of a truly meaningful experience, helping out an organization that does so much for its community.  Despite the weariness of long hours in the heat, I think they actually had fun.  (Well, the freshly grilled hotdogs and hamburgers were definitely a nice perk.  Probably tasted better after all the work too.)

Every once in a while, it’s nice to let someone help.  It gives us perspective, reminds us of how good it feels to be cared for.  It’s what our patients and families feel every day.  For them, it’s usually a new feeling because they’ve been worn down, emotionally and physically, to mere ghosts of themselves.  But since compassionately helping others is what we do every day, we tend to forget the impact we can make. 

Last week, the employees of Liberty Mutual became our caregivers.  They made us feel special.  Worthy.  And it reminded us of why we are here, providing amazing end-of-life care to our community.  It’s so we can make others feel exactly the way we did last week — cherished.  It was like they put a mirror up in front us and we really saw ourselves for the first time in a long while.  What we do matters.  Just like what Liberty Mutual did for us. 

That glow of accomplishment was all over their faces.  (Of course, that could have just been sweat.)  Regardless, they put a glow on our buildings and back on our faces too.  And for that, Liberty Mutual, you have our sincere gratitude.

Inside the un-airconditioned library

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, hospice, HPCCR South Charlotte, volunteering

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