Two who mattered to me
To the Editor,
With retirement approaching from my position as outreach worker at the Edgartown Council on Aging, I am reminded of something my favorite philosophy professor used to say, "We all stand on the shoulders of someone else." This phrase makes me think of two very special people here on the Island — Tom Bennett and Judy Olson.
Tom hired me as an intern during my grad school time. He assigned me to Judy Olson, who oversaw the elder outreach community mental health program at Island Counseling Center. While Judy is no longer living, her inspiration, vast experience, and knowledge, combined with unwavering commitment to elders' lives in the work that I have done and continue to do. She challenged me, supported me, and taught me in a way that instilled deep compassion and dedication for and to clients and their families.
Tom Bennett is the unsung hero of our community. I can only imagine how many lives he has made better through his direct work and his indirect work. Supervising interns is such important work but probably not noticed by many. Tom was always available to listen, offering sage advice and counsel. He has continued to give that to me during all the years since I left ICC.
Tom will probably downplay his role, and I think Judy would as well, but I just want to express that I could not stand on the shoulders of more dedicated, knowledgeable, or compassionate professionals. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you and for inspiring my work.
In closing, my dad raised me to believe that each of us should leave the world a better place than we found it. Thanks to my dad, Tom and Judy, I retire thinking I did that.