Liliane Germini: Doing “a little something” every day for others

Photography : Camille Noyon - Text : Lucas Delattre

Despite having made her career in the austere world of legal services in a highway company, Liliane Germini has never done her job in a distant or purely technocratic manner. Behind the insurance contracts, the clients’ claims, the filed complaints and the civil responsibilities issues, she has always first and foremost seen human lives to be taken into account.

What is true of daily management decisions is even more so in the dramatic events that regularly occur on highways: the armed robbery at the Chamant toll booth in 1997, during which a young gendarme, just twenty years of age, was killed at point blank, or that spell of exceptional winter weather that saw hundreds of drivers stuck on the highway for two days with no more fuel for their vehicles, no way to get heat nor to feed themselves. « I found that impossible, l volunteered to go to them through that snow ». But safety procedures decided otherwise. « I couldn’t do what I wanted. The Red Cross had to intervene. But when you want to help, you can do it every day. If everyone did a little something, the world would be a lot better ».

Today a retiree, Liliane Germini shows a constant concern for other people’s well-being. Volunteering at the palliative care unit in Senlis hospital, she gives four hours of her time every week to persons at the end of their life. There are open, demanding patients with whom you will spend half an hour or forty-five minutes, and others already far from the living world, for whom a silent presence or a simple touch can make sense.

Before going to the hospital and on her way back, Liliane goes to her garden, where she finds inner peace and moral strength. That garden is the one of her childhood home, which she recently bought back and where she can feel her deep attachment to the region Picardie, where she was born of Italian parents, and to its natural environment. Within the Friends’ Society of Halatte, Ermenonville and Chantilly’s Forests, Liliane has also fought for the creation of the regional natural Park of Oise-Pays de France, which was created in 2004. This park now protects the forest from any potential building project. « Today the Astérix amusement park could not be built anymore, not in that spot anyway, which was full of wild orchids ».

Committing oneself to the community also means nurturing collective identity and celebrating the joy of being together. This is how Liliane Germini came to invest herself for years in the local charity « Les Figurants de l’Histoire », that brings historical heritage – the pride of Senlisians – to life in the present. Every two years the town changes completely, for one weekend, into a medieval fair. The paved streets, the squares and the Castle’s park then welcome theatre groups, presentations of former crafts, old-style shops and hundreds of period-accurate characters. This represents four hundred costumes and numerous items (ancient carts, baskets, casks) that need to be made and maintained, six months of intense preparation for a team of twenty volunteers, and in the end thousands of visitors for an event that, so says Liliane, is « more than a fair, rather like a big festival ».

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