A Selfless Individual

Monday, August 24, 2015

Charlie Barthel is pictured with his dog, Annie, at Royal Oaks where they live. DALTON, Ga.– Charles Barthel says the reason he volunteers at Hamilton Medical Center is all about people.

“I get personal satisfaction knowing that I’m doing something to help other people,” Barthel says. “And it’s a great way to meet nice people. I enjoy it.”

Barthel has been volunteering at Hamilton since 2009. His main duties include transporting patients and doing errands, which basically involves picking up and delivering items around the hospital. 

“Charlie is all about helping others,” says Gay Ann Talley, volunteer coordinator. “He wears many volunteer hats and is a selfless individual who thinks only of others.”

He says it’s a unique opportunity to work with a group of people who are there because they want to be, not because they have to be.

Barthel also works with the American Legion, Post 112, where he serves as the senior vice commander. He also serves on the Honor Guard, participating in 50 to 60 funeral services for fallen veterans each year. Each year, he helps coordinate and participate in the Memorial Day Community Celebration event and Veterans Day parade. He describes the Legion as “veterans helping veterans” and says that a lot of veterans need help in various ways.

“One time at a Legion meeting years ago, I was talking with another member who told me God wants 10 percent of your wealth, but He also wants 10 percent of your time as well,” says Barthel. “That got me to thinking, and it’s always stuck with me.”

Drafted during the Korean War, Barthel served as a corporal in the Army for two years. His focus was cryptography, which involved encoding and decoding top-secret messages.

In November of 2014, Barthel was presented the Veteran of the Year Award by John Wilson, American Legion, Post 112, adjutant.

Born in Grand Haven, Mich., Barthel worked for Stephenson and Lawyer, Inc., in Grand Rapids after high school. Most of his career, his job was coming up with unique ways to use foam, mainly in automobiles, appliances and acoustical devices. He worked in Michigan for 23 years before he transferred to a plant in Dalton. When he retired in 1987, he was the vice president and general manager, with 36 years of service. The company was sold shortly after he retired.

Barthel married his first wife, Jeanne, in 1955, and they had five daughters. Mrs. Barthel passed away in 1986. He has eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He later married Edith, who passed away in 2006.

In July, Barthel sold his home and moved to Royal Oaks with his dog of 13 years, Annie. He says he’s really enjoying living there. “They have a wonderful staff.” Barthel typically drives to the hospital to volunteer, but several other residents who volunteer at Hamilton use Royal Oaks’ transportation service to get back and forth for their shifts.

Talley says Barthel is very appreciated at Hamilton. “My life is much richer with my good friend, Charlie, in it,” she says. “He’s dependable, caring and a great volunteer!”

Charlie Barthel talks with Allison Bennett in the Volunteer Services area at Hamilton Medical Center. Barthel helped train Bennett when she started volunteering at Hamilton.