GIGI (REGINA) Bormel, a Romanian who came to the United States in 1953, organizes transportation for hundreds of Jewish Family Services clients and sees that they get to medical appointments and other errands on time.
She is a volunteer coordinator of Mitzvah Mobility, a volunteer transportation program, and she spends some part of every day in the JFS offices at 5750 Park Heights Ave.
Bormel received this year's Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award from JFS and says in her soft Romanian accent, "I feel good giving, but a person should not necessarily expect something in return. If it comes, it's a bonus."
Mitzvah Mobility volunteers provide door-to-door service. While they wait with their clients, the volunteers who can translate in Russian or Yiddish will help explain or transcribe instructions. Many clients must go to government offices to fill out papers.
Gigi Bormel says her goal in life has been to help and give to the Jewish family. In 1950 she left Romania to live in Israel for three years, where she met and married her husband, an American. They moved to Upper Marlboro in 1953 and began a small business. When her husband died in 1957 Bormel eventually moved to Baltimore and worked from 1967 to 1988 as a supervisor in the city's Social Services department.
During Hebrew language classes at the Hebrew College, she met Ike (Isaac) Bormel, who owns a building materials company called State Supply. They were married in 1980, and Gigi says that one of her great pleasures, since she did not have children and was an only child herself, is visiting her husband's daughter, who lives in Israel and has 10 children.
"I have cousins in Israel but my mother lives here in Baltimore with me," says Gigi, who speaks Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew and understands German and French. She attends the Hebrew College two days a week to study Hebrew and attends Catonsville Community College once each week for French lessons.
She says that in the fall many Soviet emigres will be coming in and she will have a problem with drivers and hopes for more. Also, she says, "Those who speak Russian and are willing to volunteer often cannot drive. And, we would welcome them as interpreters who would go along with the volunteer drivers to translate and make it easier for all."
In 1988, Gigi Bormel became a JFS volunteer and she says with pride, "I take a personal interest in the volunteers and their families. I think they look forward to my calls even when I ask them to work."