EMHS Community Relations director Suzanne Spruce routinely responds to website contacts and inquiries on behalf of EMMC. She often receives questions about locating birth certificates. Since EMMC does not keep these documents, she usually provides contact information for the city/town office where the records are maintained.
Recently, Suzanne received an inquiry from a man who was stationed at Dow Airforce Base, in Bangor nearly 50 years ago. His first wife had a baby on the base, but the baby was born with severe birth defects. His wife and the infant were transferred to EMMC. Unfortunately, the defects were not survivable, and, true to the standard of care at that time, the parents were sent home with the knowledge that their newborn would not survive. Almost immediately after this tragic event, the couple was deployed to Germany. After all these years, the writer explained, the memory of this event was like a bad dream. He had no evidence that the baby boy had ever existed. He had no birth certificate or death certificate. Now this bereaved father was attempting to put to rest a painful memory with which he had yet to come to terms.
After many e-mails back and forth, Suzanne learned that the man had found a death certificate and a location of the infant’s final resting place. Armed with the information provided by the father, Suzanne set out for Oak Grove Cemetery in Bangor. With no map available to her, Suzanne used her iPhone to find the interment records for the City of Bangor. Only a number on a ceramic marker reveals the burial site, which Suzanne located despite the grass that covered it. She brought a pot of flowers, took photographs of the grave and the cemetery, and sent them to the baby's parents. The man’s thank you e-mail reflected his gratitude:
"Dear Miss Suzanne,
I cannot possibly tell you how much your sense of decency, morality and dedication has touched me. Not only are you a wonderful representative of the hospital, but one of the most generous and considerate people I have met in many years. You have saved me all sorts of effort and frustration in finding the exact location. My wife said, "I felt sure she was going to do something like this, but I didn't want to say anything to you at the time as it was only a hunch about her character."...Again, my humble gratitude to a remarkable lady.
The effort Suzanne made to address this grieving father’s anguish goes above and beyond the expected. Although Suzanne is an EMHS employee, she represents EMMC and continues our commitment to the Caring Behaviors.
The Moral of the Story:
1. The greatest gift is a portion of thyself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein
3. An ocean wave crashing on the rocks does not intend to call attention to itself, but a splash of such power and beauty is worthy of notice.