News and Events

President’s Point

August 1, 2015

Elder Care has had to endure some extremely tough losses in July. Two of our treasured Meals on Wheels volunteers have passed away. On July 11, George Pfeiffer died, followed by Dick Helman  four days later. Each of these exceptional men delivered meals for more than a decade and both had prior connections to Elder Care Services in years past, by serving on the Board of Directors and as a staff member.

I did not know Dick personally, but what I have discovered is that he worked in the Meals on Wheels department for a little over a year before becoming a full time volunteer. He was truly loved by everyone at ECS and was a special friend to many of our clients. According to the Meals on Wheels team, they could always count on him come in every Tuesday and Wednesday with a new joke, and what endeared them to him was his ability to personalize it to his audience.

I had the great pleasure of getting to know George Pfeiffer, initially because his older brother Ralph, like me, had spent his career in IBM. I will never forget this affable and charming man knocking on my office door to welcome me and, with a straight face, asking if I had known his brother. I chuckled and said I knew about him (Ralph joined IBM in 1949, the year I was born) and had risen to become Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IBM's World Trade Corporation when I was just staring out as a rookie sales representative in New York City.  From that moment, I began to develop a love for George that would quickly advance from friend, to mentor, and, before long, to hero. 

George's approach completely disarmed me and made me feel immediately at ease. He openly shared his history in senior management at the United Way of Asheville and then Miami, his fundraising philosophy, and his sincere desire to help me help Elder Care become more successful. It was hard not to feel an instant connection. One day, he asked if I played golf.  When I told him "It's been a long time," he said, "It's high time you started again!" He bought me a new golf bag on eBay, delivered a new set of irons a few weeks later, and, over the last three years, brought me more golf balls than I could possibly ever lose. 

A clock George made for me hangs in my office, along with a nameplate he made for my door. When people ask if I will miss George, I say, "like the flowers misses the rain." He will always be in my heart and I will see him every day as I begin work and watch the second hand sweep across the face of my clock.

Thank you for everything you continue to do in support of our mission!

With warmest regards,

Mark
Contact me @
baldinom@ecsbigbend.org
(850) 245-5930

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