Sue Hedrich, director of volunteer services for Central Maine Medical Center, remembers well her first contact with longtime volunteer Dick Leavitt.
He had been forced to retire from Tambrands in Auburn at the age of 55 due to a hip problem, and found himself at home with plenty of time on his hands.
He was bored.
So, on the advice of his pastor, the former Little League coach and Army veteran decided to volunteer at Central Maine Medical Center.
"I was out of the office at the time, and he left four messages," Hedrich remembers. "The last message said, 'You had better call me back or I'm going some place else!' and I thought, 'Oh Boy.'"
Despite the rough first impression, Leavitt turned out to be a changing force in the volunteer services office.
"He has a vibrant personality and he loves to laugh," Hedrich said. "When he first walked in here, he said it was too quiet, like a morgue. He has completely changed the atmosphere of the office. He makes it fun."
In the past 15 years, Leavitt, 71, of Auburn, has logged 12,500 hours of volunteer work at the hospital. He is not the volunteer who has been there the longest, or logged the most hours, but people look forward to working with him.
Junior volunteers in the summer ask to be paired with Leavitt, and have even returned the following summer to volunteer again.
"They see him like a grandfather," Hedrich said.
Although Leavitt loves helping people, he also cherishes the friendships he has formed over the years.
"We sit here and chitchat while we're working," Leavitt said. "I really, really enjoy it and look forward to it."
An "eligible widower," according to another volunteer, Leavitt works every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, doing everything from stuffing envelopes, to delivering mail, to organizing silverware in the cafeteria.
"You meet a lot of interesting people," Leavitt said. "And it keeps me busy."