I am here tonight to honor Caroline Murray as a Melick Foundation award winner. As you heard in Phil’s opening remarks: the Melick Foundation was started to recognize community leaders who “translate their willingness to help into action.” The art of cheerful giving is best exemplified by those who give so generously, that only those who directly benefit realize the magnificence of the service performed.
Caroline Murray is a shining example of this definition. Her quiet demeanor belies an untiring devotion of service to others. She has served and/or continues to serve in many different arenas: from our own local community, to the school system, to town government, to church and to programs in the Greater Boston area.
Caroline moved to Needham 22 years ago with her husband and two children. Her service in the community began with Caroline and her children collecting used furniture, clothing, household goods and toys from people moving out of town or from garage sales and delivering these items to fire ravaged families or battered women and children.
From this initial experience, Caroline started volunteering at the Community Council and has participated in all aspects of the services offered by the Council. Her warm smile has greeted residents in the Food Pantry, Clothing Exchange and in her car as she drives people to medical appointments. She went from being a volunteer at the Council, to being a board member, to running the Food Pantry for 5 years.
Like so many other people who quietly and effectively help others in their church, Caroline’s church work extends across a broad spectrum. It includes being a treasurer of the Outreach Program for 8 years, conferences, Friends of the Elderly, aid to incarcerated mothers and other jobs at her church as needed.
Caroline’s scope of civic service is extensive. She has been a Town Meeting member for some 18 years and is a longtime member of the League of Women Voters. When her children began in the Needham school system, she volunteered to observe the School Committee for the League of Women Voters. That turned into 3 terms as a School Committee member, including a term as chairman.
Let me list what she does for volunteer activities today: of course she is still a Town Meeting member, she is the treasurer of the League of Women Voters, she is on the board of the Needham Education Foundation, she participates in the Meals on Wheels programs on an on-call basis, she drives people to medical appointments for the Community Council as needed, she volunteers at the Boston Living Center (which helps people who are HIV positive) cooking and serving meals when needed. And she is still active in numerous programs through her church.
If you ask Caroline about volunteering, her comment is “my focus now is helping other people.” Her modesty and unassuming manner sets an example for others. I am honored to present this award to Caroline Murray tonight. Please join me in congratulating her and in thanking her for her service to our community.