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If you need help, Ask Maggie

Maggie-Wiken-Pic.jpgMaggie Wiken walks through the front lobby doors at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center on a chilly December morning. She immediately takes off her winter coat and puts it in a closet near the front desk and then puts on a navy-blue vest over her festive red top. Her vest sports the letters “Ask Me” stitched across the top left pocket. Maggie is an “Ask Me” volunteer.  Once every other week she volunteers to work a four-hour shift, helping people navigate their way through the medical center. If someone walks through the door with a troubled expression or lost look on their face, Maggie’s there to offer them some comfort.

“When people come into the hospital, any hospital, unless they're coming to meet a new baby, they don't want to be here. They are scared. Maybe they're frightened about what's going on, they don't feel well. And if I can help them get to their appointment, chat with them along the way, and just maybe make things a little bit easier for them, that’s why I’m here,” Maggie says.

Maggie’s been volunteering in this capacity for the past two years. Before that, she was a medical center employee. “I was here for 42 years. I started out working in Outpatient Registration, registering people and at the time I retired, I was director of budgeting,” she says. Maggie did take about six to eight months to adjust to being retired before she started volunteering at the hospital. “I think for me, I needed that time to transition from working to retirement to coming back and volunteering. Plus, I retired at the end of fall and I wanted the winter to just chill out, so to speak,” Maggie says with a chuckle.

Martha Wildman, director of volunteer services for Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center approves of Maggie’s decision to take some time to transition and was delighted to see her return when she was ready. She says the “Ask Me” Program has benefitted from Maggie’s involvement. “She’s always been passionate about the hospital and it was no surprise that she’d want to come back and help out,” adds Martha.

Maggie is enjoying retirement in other ways too. She is spending more time tending to her gardens and traveling. She took a trip last spring to Washington D.C. and Gettysburg. And she’s is planning to take a trip to England, Scotland, and Wales, soon. In addition to her hobbies, she still plans to keep her bi-weekly commitment to her volunteer duties. “At the end of the four hours I leave knowing that I helped some patients or visitors that day—it’s a good feeling.”

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is always looking for fresh faces to volunteer. If you or someone you know is interested, you can call Volunteer Services at 207-973-7850.