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Ten Minutes with Carol Bauer

A Force of Nature - a philanthropists who helped raise over $50 million for Norwalk Hospital.



Pam Rouleau

Carol Bauer and her husband George are well known as philanthropists, having helped raise over $50 million for Norwalk Hospital. What perhaps isn’t as widely known is that Carol is also a certified chaplain and oversees the chaplaincy program for the hospital. She has experienced both extreme joy and unspeakable tragedy in her jam-packed life of 82 years and is one of the hardest-working people in Fairfield County.

How did you end up involved in the chaplaincy program at Norwalk Hospital?   I’ve been involved with Norwalk Hospital for 36 years. I started out as a volunteer and worked my way up. I spent four years as vice-chairman and seven years as chairman of the board. I did mission work during college and attended a seminary for a semester after teachers college. I left the seminary because I believed teaching would be my ministry. But after finishing up the hospital chairmanship I decided I’d help start the chaplaincy program. Seven interfaith clergy are always on call. We serve the whole hospital.

What’s your area of focus in the hospital?   I work in pediatrics, neo-natal, labor and delivery, and maternity. I wear a pager 24/7 in case anyone needs me. I tell families I can’t fix the problem but I’m here for the journey.

The maternity ward is a happy place but it must  also be a place of sorrow?   Sometimes it’s hard. I lost my first child myself, so I can really empathize with the families. We do cry with them. Sometimes I’m asked to baptize a baby. When a mother is on bed-rest I get to know her well so there are joyful times too.

 Who helps you through the tough times?   George. He is the best listener in the world. Orem’s Diner is our go-to place on Friday nights. It’s so easy and comfortable.

In terms of your philanthropy, what are your main areas of interest?   Children, health, and education. I often paraphrase the famous quote by Forest Witcraft, “One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, or how much money I had in the bank, but the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” I am inspired by children. I’ve taught Sunday school for over 50 years.

Describe your involvement with the I Have a Dream Foundation mentoring project.   George and I accepted the challenge to adopt a class—or in our case, an entire housing project—with children between grades two and seven. If they stick to the the program, we help with their college education. It’s like an after-school club. The first hour is spent on academics and the second, on fun. We started with 43 kids and now 20 of them have graduated from high school. Six have graduated from college and some are now going for their Masters.

 Any plans for retirement?   No. I want to drop on the job. You do what you can for as long as you can. I have good genes—my mother lived until 106. I love what I do, so why look for something else if you get a lot of meaning out of your work?

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