We would like to congratulate resident, Hazel Diffin for being selected to receive a 2014 Remember Me Lifetime Achievement Award! Awards were presented in a ceremony at the Hall of Flags in the State House. Recipients are chosen by a panel of judges based on:
– Having a historically significant background
– Having a unique or interesting accomplishment
– Having overcome personal obstacles
– Having served community, state or country
– Who are pillars of their community
We are very thankful for all Hazel has done for the facility as a 75 year member of the Rebekahs’. Read on for Hazel’s nomination . . .
Hazel Diffin has a long history of community service spanning her entire adult life. She served at Peoples United Methodist Church in South Portland where she taught Sunday School and she served the Boy scouts as a den mother (One of her sons became an Eagle Scout), but most impressively, Hazel has served the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs organizations for over 67 years . . . and still counting.
The Rebekahs are a Fraternal Order, as well as a Service Organization, who exhibit the true principles of Odd Fellowship which are Friendship, Love, and Truth and in this day and age are extended to rendering service to our communities.
Hazel followed in her parents footsteps by joining the Rebekahs when she was 18 years old. Hazel quickly rose through the Rebekah ranks and settled in as her lodge’s Recording Secretary for over 50 years. She was the President of the Rebekah Assembly in 1984-85, the same year that her husband, Leo Diffin was the Grand Master of the Odd Fellows. It was Leo’s idea to add the Nursing Facility expansion to the existing Odd Fellows’ & Rebekahs’ Home of Maine. He passed away before it came to fruition, but Hazel, who was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Home and on its long range planning committee, helped make Leo’s idea a reality.
Hazel was also the Secretary of the Rebekah Assembly of Maine for many years. She travelled annually throughout the United States and Canada to attend the International Rebekah Assembly. She did not miss a single year during her time as an assembly officer or as the assembly secretary. After being forced to retire from failing health, she was nominated and received the special distinction of being named the Secretary Emeritus for the Rebekah Assembly of Maine for all of her years of service as secretary.
As part of her many years of service, Hazel was involved with the annual facility Christmas committee; decorating the facility and buying gifts for each resident. She made the bus trip every May for numerous years with the Odd Fellow organizations to the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery until recent failing health made the weekend trip too difficult. Hazel also was an active servant at Camp NEOFA (NorthEast Odd Fellows Association), where she volunteered for annual clean up weekend each Spring to get the camp ready for the new camp season and was there to help check in campers every Sunday while camp was in session.
Hazel was nominated for and received the high distinction of the Meritorious Service Award at the International Rebekah Assembly for her “meritorious services on behalf of Odd Fellowship beyond the usual and customary duties of membership.” Hazel also achieved the Decoration of Chivalry for “outstanding service to her Lodge and her community.”
In August 2013, when discussing with her son and daughter where she would like to go if returning to her home of 55 years was not an option, she said she wanted to go to the Odd Fellows’ and Rebekahs’ Home of Maine as she felt she would be most comfortable there after all her years of volunteering and being involved with the Home and the Rebekahs – even though it would take her the furthest from her home and family in South Portland. Since her admission, Hazel continues to serve and she remains very active in all things Rebekah. She recently participated in the celebration of the Grand Opening of the new facility solarium and 20th Anniversary of the Nursing Facility. She also joined in a musical presentation for the Rebekahs during their annual Christmas extravaganza.