Jackson volunteerism enriches communities in Maine, California, beyond

By day, Merlene McIntire is an administrative assistant in the Advancement group of The Jackson Laboratory, her employer since 1989. But after hours she’s a dedicated community volunteer who devotes time and energy to a litany of worthy causes throughout Downeast Maine.

Merlene McIntire“I volunteer because I enjoy helping others,” Merlene says. “Knowing that I can help with no expectations is a great feeling – paying it forward.”

When a malfunctioning furnace filled her Tremont home with smoke a few years ago, Merlene was so impressed with the quick and helpful response of the Tremont Volunteer Fire Department that she and her son, Tyler, joined the Department as volunteers a few weeks later. She served for several years before moving to Hancock recently. 

Today Merlene volunteers at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth. She and her four sisters, two of whom work at the hospital, started volunteering together and have worked at the annual Chef’s Gala and Poinsettia Ball fundraisers for several years. 

Merlene also volunteers for cleanup days with Friends of Acadia, a support group for Acadia National Park, and participates in school functions including the MDI Jazz Fest. A single mother of two boys, Merlene also was a Boy Scout den mother for several years.

An avid motorcyclist who rides a Suzuki Boulevard S40, Merlene has been a member of the United Bikers of Maine in the past and gone on charity tour rides with the group.

And most Sundays are “Ms. Mary Day” when Merlene spends a few hours visiting a special elderly friend at Birch Bay Retirement Village in Bar Harbor. She gets Mary outside, takes her for car rides or just sits and talks with her.

“I am grateful to have the time to give to others,” Merlene says. “One never knows when we may be in need ourselves one day.”

Merlene’s spirit of “paying it forward” through voluntarism is typical of The Jackson Laboratory’s workforce. The Laboratory’s 1,400-plus employees collectively devote thousands of hours each year helping charitable causes in Maine, California and beyond, boosting the quality of life in their communities. 

In Bar Harbor alone, Jackson employees play in the town band, serve on town government committees, volunteer for the search and rescue squad, sit on non-profit boards, coach youth sports teams, lead civic groups, volunteer in the schools and take part in charitable fundraising events.