The Kodiak Award is a new annual award beginning this year.  It will be presented to Bipolar World's outstanding "Volunteer of the Year".

For those who don't know Kodiak, he was Bipolar World's message board monitor for over two years until his death to cancer on August 25, 2000, which was also the date of his 50th birthday.  Kodiak not only was an excellent board monitor, he spent countless hours supporting individuals with bipolar disorder and their loved ones on a one to one basis.  We have chosen to remember him always with this award bearing his name.

The award for 2001-2002 was presented to David Lilley (twopoles) on August 25, 2002.  In the past year Twopoles has spent countless hours as a chat operator in the main Bipolar chat room.  He has worked with several new chat "ops" teaching them procedure.  In addition he has "touched" many different areas at Bipolar World.  He has written articles and poetry.  He works regularly doing email support on a one to one basis.  He is responsible for getting the Significant Others board in healthy shape.  He accepted a position as advisor to the partners at Bipolar World.  All that he does, he does diligently and well.   If you are in trouble and need someone to talk to, Twopoles is always ready to help.  For all of these things and more he deserves to be our first Volunteer of the Year.  A plaque will be mailed to him to convey the appreciation of the partners and members at Bipolarworld.  Thank You Twopoles!!!!  Congratulations!

 

Acceptance Poem by Twopoles

I know the best place to start
is a sincere thanks to all involved
from the bottom of my heart.

Visitors and volunteers
some will sholder and some will shed
those mixed bipolar tears

In memory of Kodiak--As he would have done
There's work to be done here.
We'll carry on friend.  We will continue on.

twopoles

 

 

This family remembrance of Kodiak was written by his older brother Paul to be read at the presentation ceremony.

A Brother's Remembrance of Ben Kalkstein

Ben was the middle child of the four boys and a girl in our family; I was the oldest. From the start, Ben was different from the rest of us. We were dark haired, and he had golden-red hair, like his grandfather, the distinguished federal judge, Herbert F. Goodrich. Ben was the Golden Boy. In his grade he was always the best athlete. He captained the football team both in high school and at Swarthmore College. For the five years the family spent in Israel, where our father was building a fertilizer plant for the government, Ben was known as a "gibbour" - an athletic hero.

But athletics were not Ben's main distinction, for he was a scholar, too.  He was a strong student at Swarthmore, and then at Villanova Law School.  After law school, Ben was able to unite his vocation with his avocation, as he went to work as an attorney for the Environmental Protection Administration.

Ben rose rapidly at EPA, and he eventually became a judge, like his  grandfather. All through his youth and adult life, Ben was a devotee of the outdoors. He loved to hike and camp, and along every trail he walked he carried a bag to pick up other people's trash. This is a habit that spread to everyone in the family.

About ten years before he died, Ben was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. So powerful was the respect that his EPA colleagues felt for him that they happily took on his duties and covered for him when he was ill. Ben's generosity was repaid when he needed help himself. However, even when he was hospitalized, Ben was clearly respected and obviously generous. When I visited him once in a state institution in the South Jersey pines, he had me smuggle in some cigarettes for a patient, although Ben himself hated cigarettes. Another time I visited Ben at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia and found him amidst a coterie of admirers. Everyone loved him.

During those last ten years Ben's greatest joy and salvation was what he gave to those of you who are here this evening, and to others who are not here. He spent countless hours on the Internet and on the phone, counseling and supporting. This need to support others, which helped him as it helped those whom he helped, took precedence over almost everything else in his life during Ben's last years. You who knew him know this better than anyone else.

Ben's death came very suddenly. He had been feeling stomach pain for several months, but his doctor could not diagnose him. He planned to spend his 50th birthday with us in Maine, but two days before that birthday my mother called, almost speechless, and told me that Ben had terminal liver cancer. So we spent his birthday with him in Philadelphia. I held his hand for the hours it took him to die. He passed away peacefully, and without being a trouble to anyone - that was his way always.

But I remember, more and more as I grow older, those wonderful early days when my we kids were growing up in Moorestown, NJ. I remember especially the long summer nights when we played games, the family and the kids of the neighborhood, and sometimes relatives who lived nearby. Once, after Ben hit a signature towering homerun in softball, our cousin Josh exclaimed, "That ball was STUNJE!" (Stung) Ever after, Ben was nicknamed "Stunje" in the family, and some of you will remember that "stunje" was his username on Yahoo. Joy was his characteristic way of facing the world, and even the anguish of bipolar disorder could not entirely dampen his joy. After his death, a young colleague at the EPA related this brief and typical story:

"I used to think that Ben treated me with special warmth because we went to the same school, or because our mothers were old friends from their school days, or maybe simply because I had the same name as his daughter, Betsy.  The truth is that he really was, as you say, a "gentle"man (especially once he got his bipolar disorder under control), and his compassion and kindness extended well beyond any specific affiliations.

"I remember a ripping toboggan ride we had down a hill at Eagles Mere, PA.  The snow was brand new and deep, but the toboggan just flew over it with just me and Ben on it. We got to the bottom of the hill and never slowed down on the flat. We just sailed out across the driveway that looped around the hill (it was at a lodge or condo), slammed down onto the plowed and snow-packed driveway, and plowed head first into the snow bank on the other side. We were both laughing hysterically when Ben, who was in front, turned around and looked at me -- his glasses were missing and he had snow stuck in his eyebrows and all over his face. We finally found his glasses in the middle of the driveway."

When there were family arguments, Ben was the peacemaker. You know this, I expect, because a peacemaker was what he was in the bipolar community, too.  Ben tried to achieve balance and harmony in the world. He struggled ever so hard to do that in his own life, a task made nigh impossible by his bipolar disorder. But Ben never gave up, he never let up, trying to make people and things come together.

I am an English teacher, and I have always tried not to confuse literature and life. But sometimes they come together. I especially think of Ben when Iremember these lines from Robert Frost's poem, "Two Tramps in Mud Time":

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

May God bless you and this gathering.

Paul Kalkstein
-

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KODIAK AWARD:  2002-2003

On August 25, 2003 Syl was awarded with the second annual Kodiak Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Syl was voted unanimously for her participation in many areas of the site, and for being a warm and supportive member of Bipolar World.

Syl is a chat monitor in the main chat room, a moderator on the main email list, a moderator on the poetry list, owner of the Bipolar Art List, frequent contributor to the bulletin boards, and creator of greeting cards, art, and backgrounds for the site.

Bipolar World is proud to present the Kodiak Award to Syl.  Congratulations!

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Kodiak Award 2003-2004

Bipolar World is proud to present this years Volunteer of the Year - Kodiak Award to Debbie.

Debbie has been a volunteer at Bipolar World for three years and has worked both as a chat op and a forums moderator.

Deb is friendly, warm and supportive and has helped may others during her time here.

Thank you Debbie - you're the greatest!

 

 

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