Jean and Dick Bedell
Married for 55 years, Jean and Dick Bedell have dedicated their lives to service projects all around the world. Dick, a pediatrician, and Jean, a nurse with a Masters degree in Gerontology, are the unstoppable “womb to tomb” duo. For the past thirty years, the pair has traveled annually to both Mexico and India to provide medical and faith-based support for residents in some of the most volatile areas. Their work in India includes focusing on helping people with HIV and AIDS as well as providing conflict management workshops in the community.
Project C.U.R.E. has also become an important commitment for the Bedells. As the largest collector and distributor of medical equipment in the world, Project C.U.R.E. has brought Jean and Dick to numerous countries to help in the cause. Membership in Rotary International has led them to involvement with many of these amazing organizations where they have met other humanitarians throughout the world.
The Bedells did not always know they would live a life of service. Most of their opportunities stemmed from involvement in other activities, especially within their church. “We always try to take advantage of everything that comes our way, and our skills and past experiences have made it easier to take on new projects,” says Jean. When Jean and Dick worked full time in the medical field, they would spend a few weeks at a time traveling abroad. Now that they are retired, they are able to spend months on service missions such as Home of Hope, which provides health care, education, nutrition, and safety to daughters of prostituted women. Working with young girls, some of whom are terminally ill with AIDS, has certainly not been an easy experience. However, the Bedells find that their spirituality brings powerful hope to the children, which in turn has brought them even closer to their faith.
Jean is also very involved in Boulder’s Circle of Care program, which offers weekly cultural and educational activities for seniors in the area. She is extremely passionate about their work and the social and physical benefits that these programs bring to participants. “I believe that isolation is one of the major causes of depression because of the effects it has on exercise and self-esteem. This is why Circle of Care is such an extraordinary program. It has brought over 1,500 older adults in Boulder back into the community.” Jean serves on Circle of Care’s Board of Directors and hopes to see the program expand to other cities across the country.
While Jean and Dick’s combined efforts have contributed significantly to so many different projects, the pair is proud to say they enjoy working independently as well. Jean is active in choral groups and bridge clubs. Dick volunteers for Meals on Wheels and serves on the Board of Directors of Medical Benevolent Foundation (MBF). Their relationship has thrived from their ability to collaborate as well as enjoy activities separately. And despite their lifelong accomplishments, Jean and Dick’s adventures are nowhere near complete. At the time of this article, Jean was working in Swaziland with Project C.U.R.E. Later this year the two will work as volunteers in Haiti with MBF. In August they will take their annual trip to India for three months as medical volunteers.
The Bedells have had so many memorable experiences abroad and are grateful for all of their amazing opportunities over the years. However, the pair has endured their own personal struggles along the way. Both Jean and Dick were diagnosed with cancer in the past ten years, and fortunately they overcame their illnesses with the love and support of each other and their close family and friends. The adversity they faced resulted in an even stronger relationship with each other, their faith, and the organizations to which they remain dedicated. The Bedells’ numerous commitments and lifelong generosity is truly an inspiration to all.
Written By: Robyn Casper