By Anne O’Connor, Correspondent
Sentinel and Enterprise
LEOMINSTER — When Gail Allen returned to school as an adult to earn a law degree, she had only one regret.
“It cramped my style,” she said. “I had been really involved with the community before. It was wonderful to be able to do this. My family was fine with it.”
Her husband and two children were used to seeing her in the community.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of different things,” she said.
The former chair and present member of the Board of Trustees of HealthAlliance Hospital is a past president of the HealthAlliance Guild and before that the Leominster Hospital Guild. HealthAlliance formed when area hospitals merged in 1994.
Following the tradition of her own parents, Allen included her children in her charitable activities.
“If I was unable to do it with my family, I’d never be doing all this stuff,” she said.
Her father, who owned a milk delivery business in Connecticut, took Allen and her brother along at Christmastime. He would pick up presents and deliver them to people in apartments. Her mother sewed Easter outfits for needy families.
“At a very early age, they taught me the value of giving back,” she said.
The family practiced the John F. Kennedy quote, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”
When her daughter began acting in the community theater at Mount Wachusett Community College, the troupe became a second family for the Allens. While her daughter acted, her husband and son worked backstage, and Allen was, and still is, a stage manager.
“We did everything together,” she said. “I don’t regret one minute of it. My daughter is doing the same thing with her kids.”
The Allens’ son, an emergency medical technician, passed away in 2008 from a rare form of bone cancer.
Allen’s life choices express her love of community and children. As part of her general law practice, she is frequently in juvenile court. She is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.
“I love kids,” she said. “It’s such a great organization. It does terrific things.”
As a lawyer, Allen is a successful business owner and sits on the IC Federal Credit Union board. Before law school, she and her husband ran an electronic typesetting business from their home.
With the arrival of personal computers and desktop publishing programs, they sought new careers. Rather than return to teaching, she moved on to law.
Nowadays, she might find herself all dressed up for court one day and spending time with her family on another.
Laughter punctuates her conversation as she interacts with her grandsons or recalls important events in her life. “I’m a people person,” she said.