This woman for all seasons has been a guiding hand in Boca Raton for givers and doers for almost 60 years
Helen Babione, 92, has seen a lot of changes since she and her late husband Robert moved to Boca Raton in 1962 where the family established a funeral business. The Babiones had seven children (“one for every day of the week”) and a growing business, but the arrival of Helen Babione also helped mark something else in Boca Raton: community service as a way of life.
In fact, this is just a partial list of all the organizations Babione has been involved with, in addition to founding The Women’s Circle, starting Soroptimist and helping launch the Habilitation Center and Horses and the Handicapped in Boca: Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Hospital (including Women of Grace) and Doctors Who Care, Boca Raton Regional Hospital (including the Go Pink luncheon and Debbie–Rand Memorial Service League), Caridad Center, Kiwanis Club, Lynn University, the Junior League of Boca Raton, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church (and several different church-related organizations), Elks Club, American Legion Auxiliary. It has been a lifetime of service. In fact, Babione was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Junior League of Boca Raton in 2014.
HOW SHE STARTED: “I always have to do something. I belonged to the women’s club when I lived in Delray—then I transferred down here to the women’s club and then [helped] start the Soroptimist Club.”
WHAT BOCA WAS LIKE BACK THEN: “It was before IBM, and there were about 20,000 people living here at that time—Bibletown was very active back in those days, the Boca Mall was here, there were more gas stations than restaurants. They were building the hospital at that time, and FAU was coming along. We had a free ambulance service back then, and we took the ambulance (which was the hearse) to all the high school football games.”
CAUSES NEAR AND DEAR TO HER HEART: “I think I’m most proud of helping start the Habilitation Center. Helping with the handicapped was something I’m most proud of.”
WHY COMMUNITY SERVICE IS SO IMPORTANT: “I just like to help other people aside from my own family. I see needs for different things, and I have a lot of friends who really help me. I don’t do as much as my friends do. … I enjoy doing it and I do such a small part. … It just makes a better world. It helps you become a stronger person. The people you are helping become stronger.”
WHAT MAKES BOCA SPECIAL: “People are so willing to help other people. They have a feeling to help people more in Boca than in any place I’ve ever lived. It’s easy to get them involved. That’s what I really admire about Boca Raton. … They are looking out for other people all the time.”