Jim O'Brien passed away January 8, 2013. You may read even more about his life here.
James O'Brien (Westbrook) has volunteered at Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough since 1999. He's a greeter, concierge, fun committee leader, brother-in-arms, and friend. As new residents/patients settle in, he brings them and their families into the MVH fold with warmth & friendship. Little things mean a lot: Jim thoughtfully makes sure every resident has the ball cap and flag from his branch of service - it's a sign of his honor for their service to country. He facilitates the daily (and nearly legendary) poker game. He helps with outings to ball games, fishing trips, and performances, cheerful and eager to be sure everyone is having a good time.
A disabled veteran himself, Jim insists that he "cannot just sit home and collect a check," rather, he feels deeply compelled to give back. Jim honors the deep bond of shared experience among those who have experienced combat and he lets them know that they are surrounded by kindred souls. Jim has created a "Wall of Honor," listing the service, of all the resident veterans and honoring those who have passed in the last year. MVH is a safe space to talk about their experiences. Some are WWII veterans who have buried their pain all their lives, only speaking about it once they have trusted the dignity of Jim's respect.