Posted by Jon Federman
This year at the JF&CS Annual Board Meeting, the Simone Lottor Exceptional Service Award was presented to Bruce Bell. The award was created in 2001 by Sandy Lottor and his family in memory of Simone Lottor, who was for many years a dedicated volunteer for JF&CS. Each year, the award is presented to a JF&CS volunteer who exemplifies the values of chessed (loving kindness) and service to the community and whose efforts have made a significant contribution towards tikkun olam (repairing our world).
Bruce started volunteering for the JF&CS Friendly Visitor Program of Jewish Healing Connections 14 years ago and has visited five elderly clients, some whom are Holocaust survivors, regularly. A devoted and caring volunteer to each of his clients, Bruce has quickly developed meaningful and lasting relationships with them.
Making weekly visits, he shares family photos and stories. He is an advocate and voice for his clients' needs. Bruce's first match in the Friendly Visitor Program was with Marvin*, a gentleman in his mid 90's who had recently moved to an assisted living facility in Waltham. He had been widowed for many years and was depressed, isolated, and lonely.
Marvin loved baseball, but could not find any other men with whom he could talk about sports. Bruce, with no real interest in sports, was committed to forging a bond with Marvin. Each week, he would read the sports pages so that he could have meaningful conversation with Marvin. Bruce's efforts worked. On the eve of Martin's 100th birthday, Bruce brought him to the JF&CS annual Friendly Visitor Chanukkah celebration where Marvin was honored by the entire crowd singing "Happy Birthday" and was presented with a Red Sox baseball cap. When Marvin died, Bruce was even asked to speak at Marvin's memorial service about their special and profound relationship.
A retired customs house broker involved in import-export compliance, Bruce's enthusiasm for helping others is demonstrated in his commitment to Project Bread, where he has been involved for more than 30 years as a walker and as a fundraiser. He also volunteers with Boston Area Gleaners, an organization that brings in surplus crops from local farms and distributes them to Boston-area food banks including JF&CS Family Table. In 2014, Bruce was recognized as "gleaner of the year." "Bruce has been one of our longest serving and most dedicated volunteers," says Sue Spielman, Friendly Visitor Program Manager. "He has a great sense of the unique needs of each of the clients with whom he has visited and creativity to meet those needs. With each person Bruce has visited, he has exemplified the goal of the Friendly Visitor Program –to create meaningful friendships between generations. He has helped each older adult understand they are valued and cared for."
Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.