Inspiring others to volunteer '€” a rare gift, but those who know attorney Kimberly Winter cite it as one of her most outstanding qualities.
"Any sort of community service, any charity, no matter what it is, she makes us better for it. She raises our consciousness," said Sheila Sweeney, director of public relations and development for The Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. "She's very giving of her time. It's a way of life with her. She brings that out in people and you find yourself wanting to volunteer."
Rather than trying to beat the traffic to New Hampshire or the Cape, Winter was among a group of MATA volunteers who spent Labor Day weekend commemorating the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by working with Habitat for Humanity to "Re-New Orleans" in the most devastated area of New Orleans, the Ninth Ward.
"Kim showed compassion when others were overwhelmed by the tragedy and devastating conditions in which they were working," recounted one volunteer. "To keep things fun and light-hearted and in the spirit of the environment, on the second day of the build, Kim joined in on songs with other volunteers while painting in Musicians' Village. She is determined to encourage more participation in future civic service events."
MATA Board member Stan Helinski, who organized the trip, recalled that Winter was one of the first people interested in the project. "Kim was first one to say '€˜I would definitely go if you scheduled it.' She was the one who really got me to think that maybe we can do this. If it wasn't for her, it wouldn't have grown feet," said Helinski.
Winter, whose practice, White, Freeman & Winter, is located in Weston, is no stranger to a strong sense of service. She is the immediate past chair of the Health Law Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and is still very much involved with the council and MBA leadership as a whole. This year, she sits on the House of Delegates as a regional delegate representing Middlesex County. Aside from her strong sense of service as an attorney, Winter is a registered nurse. Whether she was at the bedside or now in the courtroom, Winter's priority of service has been evident throughout her career.
In addition, she is a sustaining member of the MBA, which means she contributes beyond her standard membership dues to support the association. The sustaining member category is for those members who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to both the association and the profession. By investing in the MBA, she sets an example for others and makes the MBA a more effective voice for the bar.
Winter's altruism is unmistakable. Fifteen years ago, she approached MATA to participate in the Toys for Tots program, resulting in a commitment to underprivileged children every year since. She has also worked to improve a homeless shelter in the Boston harbor area, and is on the board of directors of Leaders of Tomorrow, a youth services organization helping underserved youth in Boston public schools strengthen their self-esteem.
Winter finds volunteer work both immensely rewarding and incredibly interesting. She said she talks about her experience in New Orleans virtually every day. "I was both very disheartened by how little had been done there and incredibly impressed by how buoyant the people are," said Winter.
Winter strongly encourages other attorneys to participate in their communities. "When we get to the end of the week and someone asks '€˜what did we do?', if they participated in a project, that's what they would say was most personally rewarding thing they did, hands down," said Winter. "We are very busy and crazy in life as lawyers and it is a great way to say we did something that made a difference, a tangible, immediately evident difference."