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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.
Hazel, you have been a joy and and an eager server in the AHRA for many years. There are so many of my AHRA friends, who’s kids were just little ones (like John and Robbie’s Jackie) when I first met them. I cannot believe have they have grown (we are not older, they have just gotten bigger).I cannot wait to see you at the 2013 meeting and yes, I would like to help.
Your thoughtful article has brought a tear to my eye and so many fond memories. It was truly a blessing to be able to bring Jackie to the annual meeting every year. She too learned the value of service to others, and that she had some innate organizational skills she has put to good use over the years. Hard to believe that John is a married man and my baby girl is about to turn 30 this year! Thank you for all you have done for AHRA and your endearing friendship.
I am truly sorry I will miss the meeting this year and thank you for your positive influence in Jackie’s life, adn for being a mentor to me.
Robbie, you do not know what you have meant to me over the years. It was a pleasure watching Jackie grow. Hazel, you are one of the true gems. The AHRA family has taught me a lot and that was so evident when Sonny died. It taught me that we are there for each other. That you did not have to be a member of the AHRA to make an impact. Sonny loved watching all the kids grow and got to spend more time with them than I did. It taught me exactly what is right about the AHRA. You do not have to be at every meeting to feel that you are still a part of a great community. Robbie, just know that you are loved and respected and tell my Jackie that she has become the woman that you hoped she would. Love ya
Oh my Hazel, I remember that meeting with the tie-dye!! I cannot believe how time flies. I echo everything DiAnne and Robbie stated above. Thanks for being a helper, it is appreciated and needed for AHRA to continue to grow. Julie