MONROE, CT — Elaine Organek spent her life helping others, whether it was through church groups at St. Jude Parish, serving as an EMS volunteer, working as a nurse or finding new homes for clients in her role as a Realtor.
Organek, a 30-year-member of the Monroe Emergency Medical Service, died last Friday.
“May God welcome Elaine home and bless all of her contributions to her church and this town,” Ellen Stevens, a volunteer at St. Jude, wrote in an email announcing the sad news.
On Feb. 27, the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service memorialized Organek in a Facebook post, saying the organization was saddened to announce her passing:
Elaine began her service in 1990, volunteering for the community of Monroe for over 30 years. A vital member and a familiar face to many in town, she worked countless shifts, conducted PPD screenings for members, ran blood pressure clinics, helped with CPR classes and enjoyed training new members. She was always there for special events and all our social activities. We extend our sympathies to her family and friends. Rest easy our good friend- we’ll take it from here.
A new job, right before Christmas
John Brenna, chairman of the EMS Commission, knew Organek for 35 years. His late wife, Margaret, a longtime EMS volunteer herself, did volunteer work with Organek.
“She was very likable, very helpful and a very kind person — very personable,” Brenna said. “She had a very nice demeanor about her that made her very successful as a volunteer. She would get people to do things easily.”
Brenna said Organek started a group at St. Jude Parish to help those who are out of work find employment. When she asked Brenna to serve as a guest speaker he readily agreed, doing it on and off for five years. Brenna gave advice on resume writing, on how to give an elevator speech and how to present yourself during a job interview.
He remembers a group meeting in the early ’90s, two weeks before Christmas, when a 53-year-old man who was out-of-work for two years attended. “He said, ‘I don’t even know why I’m here. No one wants to hire anyone over 50. My wife made me come,'” Brenna recalled.
At the time, Brenna was president of a large manufacturer and distributor of mammography imaging systems in Danbury. The man told Brenna he did electronic test assembly work.
“I lit up like a lightbulb, because we needed those people,” Brenna said. “I didn’t tell him I was the president. I just gave him the HR director’s number.”
Brenna said the man was hired three days before Christmas and was extremely grateful. “He wrote the most beautiful letter to Elaine. She was almost in tears,” Brenna said.
Organek’s group had access to search firms and employment centers and brought in people with an understanding of what jobs were available in Connecticut, from retail positions to openings for corporate executives, according to Brenna.
“We actually helped a lot of people get jobs,” he said. “It was very gratifying.”
Stevens said her husband was also involved in the job networking group with Organek. In addition to that group, Stevens said Organek was very involved with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which is for people deciding to join the Catholic Church as an adult.
“Elaine was a long time eucharistic minister at St. Jude,” Stevens said.
A caring person
Kim Cassia, the town’s director of Community and Social Services, knew Organek through her volunteering for the Monroe EMS. She said Organek also had become a member of the Monroe Senior Center.
“She was just a nice person and it’s sad that she passed away,” Cassia said Tuesday. “It was a huge shock. She was a very caring person, being a nurse and working in the medical field. Anybody who volunteers for EMS, you’re giving back to the community and being there for your neighbors.”
Brenna said Organek retired from the EMS two years ago, but continued to volunteer for the organization, helping out at events like the annual Monroe Night at the Park, which gives residents an opportunity to meet the town’s first responders and members of civic groups.
“Even though she wasn’t riding on the ambulance, a lot of times when we had training classes she was there,” Cassia said. “She wanted to learn.”
Organek was an EMR, an emergency medical responder.
Aside from her involvement in the EMS and St. Jude Church, Brenna remembers when Organek worked as a Realtor for William Raveis Real Estate. “She helped a lot of people in Monroe find homes,” he recalled.
“She had many friends,” Stevens said. “It seemed to me, if a name came up she would say, ‘I know, I did such and such with that person.’ It’s a loss to the town. She was generous with her time and her energy.”
“There’s a lot of organizations that are going to miss her,” Brenna said. “EMS was one of many. She was a smart woman and she got a lot of things done and helped many organizations in town.”