“Everyone needs a warm touch and a smile,” said Roxanne Easler of Corinth in explaining why she has volunteered for Beacon Hospice of Bangor for the past nine years. The retired nurse and later a deli employee of 15 years, said she has much to offer and wants to pay it forward. “We had hospice for my mother when she was at the end of her life. I wanted to give back to the wonderful program,” she said.
When you talk to folks in and around town, they will tell you this woman does more than just share a warm touch and a smile. “Roxie is like our community’s Mother Teresa. She takes care of everyone,” said Wanda Greatorex, who has known Easler for some 25 years. Theirs is a friendship that began through their children.
“Roxie has shown me that when your spirit is forced to plumb the lowest depths of pain, you can reach out to others and help lift them up, thereby surviving the deep pain your own spirit is experiencing,” Greatorex said. “She lifts my heart no matter what sorrow or sadness or boredom I may be going through. Not much escapes her sharp eye. I love owls, and I guess Roxie is my own special owl, with her sharp eye and boundless wisdom.”
Easler started her hospice volunteering nine years ago, but only after the death of her mother and subsequent death of her son. Roanne Austin, volunteer coordinator with Beacon Hospice, has come to know Easler as having endless compassion. “Roxie’s approach is one of being present in the moment. Whenever patients are on their journey, she listens with compassion and shares their joys.”
Easler’s work with hospice has included providing direct care visits to patients in facilities and private homes. Austin said easler’s passion to help others has also included mentoring new volunteers and participating in volunteer training, as well as working at volunteer fairs and participating in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s with the Beacon Hospice team. “Roxie has found balance in her volunteer role with hospice as well as her life with her family, friends, and community,” said Austin.
Easler’s volunteerism soon grew to include volunteering for the JD Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Cheryl Morin and her husband who lost their son to suicide, like the Easlers. It’s based in Abbot, offering education about suicide awareness, prevention, and anti-bullying.
“Roxie is someone who gets it when you are having a difficult time with whatever is going on,” said Morin. “She is a facilitator of our groups for suicide survivors, and she asks people to lunch when she knows they are having a difficult time after a loss of their loved one.”
There is more, though. Morin claimed Roxie will do anything she can to help the organization from being a runner at the Foundation’s auctions to getting sponsors for the yearly Walk to Wake the Silence. “Roxie just gives me strength,” said Morin.
Easler’s dedication seems to be endless, as Lucy Johnston noted her friend has a way of keeping folks on her radar. “She checks on them if they’ve had surgery or not feeling well, and she just helps take care of some of her neighbors, giving them rides because they don’t have a vehicle.” Johnston said. “She’s just so caring and so willing to give of herself and her energies.”
Well-known for her volunteerism, Roxie certainly is known as the lady who makes Christmas happen for less fortunate families. “My house looks like the North Pole now through December 24th,” said Easler with a chuckle.
She also produces what some consider her “famous” summer yard sale.
“People donate items to me throughout the year. I don’t price, but sell by donation. It’s a very lucrative yard sale, so I use the funds the buy gifts for 12 families for Christmas, and I couldn’t do this without the community. People are extremely generous.”
Easler admitted she is proud of what she does for the community at Christmas. “When you have been helping about 50 children every Christmas over the course of 15 years, that’s a lot of kids!”
Easler’s husband Dave is proud of his wife of 40 years. “She is caring, compassionate, and honest. She likes to look out for others like her mother did.” They both agree volunteering is healing. “You meet such interesting people with life stories to tell.”
“Helping people is life’s greatest reward,” Roxie continued. “You will receive far more than you can give, and it just warms my heart. I just love helping people.”
Volunteer work for this couple has been healing as they both work with the JD Foundation and Connecting with Nature, an outing group designed to promote wellness and community through wilderness excursions, big and small. The great outdoors has also drawn Dave to volunteer at the Orono Bog Walk.
The Easlers have another passion—family. Roxie and Dave raised three boys and today enjoy their three grandchildren Darren, Dawson, and Henry spread out from Tennessee to Surry, Maine.
So if Roxie Easler is not at a hospice patient’s bedside, running a yard sale or Christmas shopping for those less fortunate, you are bound to find her on a trail soaking in the great outdoors. “Mother Nature is a great ‘drug’ for depression. Feel the dirt with bare feet, let the sun warm your back and just breath,” she said. “You will be amazed at how this will make you feel.”
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