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By Hazel Hacker, FAHRA
July 2013—At an Annual Meeting many moons ago, I was walking down the hallway of the conference center with my son John when I came upon a woman with a warm, friendly smile separating and counting tie-dye t-shirts which were to be sold for that evening’s theme party. “Would you like to help?” she asked enthusiastically. “Sure!” my son responded, surprising me as he was not known to volunteer for any type of manual labor. Up until that moment, I was a go to the Annual Meeting sessions and head back to my room for room service and a movie AHRA member. I thought of it as purely an educational experience. Period.
Things changed. The shirt counting stranger turned out to be my now dear friend and AHRA past-president, Robbie Edge, with whom I’ve since shared years of experiences. She introduced me to other members and, shortly afterwards, I got a call asking to be on the Annual Meeting Design Team. Not even sure what it was, I agreed and I’ve never regretted it. In the years since, I’ve had the opportunity to write for the Annual Meeting Convention Daily, be a columnist for Link, the editor-in-chief of Radiology Management, a speaker at meetings, and a member of the AHRA Board of Directors. As exciting as all of that was, seeing my son learn first hand how rewarding volunteering can be was what really fueled my enthusiasm.
From that one gesture of kindness came years of precious memories filled with the faces of friends and colleagues I’ve met over the past 20 years. It taught me that sometimes people don’t even know they want to help or be involved until they are asked. Sometimes even the hardest work can be made enjoyable by the people you do it with.
I have a picture on my dresser of my son and I taken at that meeting in tie-dye t-shirts and hippie glasses making the peace sign. When I look at it I can’t help but think of how far I’ve come with the AHRA and marvel at the fact that it all started with a warm smile and the question: “Would you like to help?”
Hazel Hacker, FAHRA is the business manager at Edison Imaging Associates, PA in Edison, NJ. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.