ST. JOHNSBURY — Every year, during its annual meeting in November, the NEK Council on Aging recognizes a special volunteer or organization with the Humanitarian Hero award in honor of their dedication to the Council’s mission and the impact they have on the community at large. The Council recently announced Linda Guyer as its 2021 Humanitarian Hero.
Guyer has been a volunteer with the Council since 2015, but her history as a caregiver and volunteer started long before.
“We have colleagues at the Council who have to manage estate planning, choices for care, and funeral planning, but imagine a volunteer coming forward to help with all that,” said Karen Budde, the Council’s Senior AmeriCorps coordinator. “Linda has tremendous knowledge of caregiving, having to assist her father’s grandmother, his mother, and her husband through their end-of-life journeys.”
Guyer works directly with case managers to help clients understand their financial footing and to review the support systems that are available to them. She researches court-appointed guardians, life insurance policies, and a myriad of arrangements that need to be completed as one nears the end of life.
“She understands the nuances of programs and relays information seamlessly to clients,” Budde said. “Most people don’t understand there are layers of support systems that are available for people at this stage of their life’s journey, and we are grateful that she serves as a trusted advocate.”
“Linda provides kind and gentle support for those who may be feeling overwhelmed and alone. She works with the case managers and the family and acts as a guide during a very difficult transition, one that she has experienced several times before,” said Meg Burmeister. “We are very grateful for the dedication and compassion she shares with not only her friends and family, but with others throughout her community, especially those that are most vulnerable.”
She benefits from her very own support system of friends and family. She has two daughters, four grandsons, one granddaughter, and three great-granddaughters. Her prayer group strengthens her, and her gardens rejuvenate her.
“Her garden does for her what she provides to our clients,” said Budde. “She was humble in accepting the award and noted that she does not deserve this recognition — and yet, if not for her, who would be helping?”
Her friend, Freddie Orr, agrees. “Linda is a very dear friend, and she helps so many people. When she moved her husband to a nursing home, my husband was already there and we became very good friends, supporting each other during a difficult transition. We have remained friends ever since. We enjoy our faith group, and her work with the grief share program at the Union Baptist Church is very important to her. She is blessed with wonderful friends and family.”
The Council also announced that the 2021 annual meeting for the NEK Council on Aging will take place Monday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. via Zoom.