Written by Ryan Charles Parker // Photo courtesy of Jim Stone
Creativity, courage, compassion. Each of these are admirable qualities. When one person possesses all of them, it is all the more so. And when applied, remarkable things can happen. Jim Stone is proof.
Jim volunteers for the Tetra Society, an organization that pairs skilled workers with people with physical disabilities in order to create items that can assist in making life easier for the disabled person.
This requires an innovative spirit, and Jim Stone was gifted with such quality. As he told me, “Creativity is the most important part of this volunteer work. I say that I have been blessed with a three-D mind because it’s easy for me to just watch a client for a short time, with helpful concentration with caregivers, then imagine how to improve their comfort.”
He then takes his idea to his shop and makes it into a reality.
But reality has changed for all of us. This much is obvious. The pandemic has put us all in danger, even with exercised caution. Meeting in close proximity with strangers is hazardous. This hasn’t stopped Jim. In fact, it has had the opposite effect. He has tripled his workload during this time.
Nichole Yamchuk, Prairie Regional Coordinator for the Tetra Society explained Jim’s attitude: “Jim is a senior himself and understands that he is at risk during this time, but knows that there are people in more dire needs and wishes to help them.”
And help he does, on a large scale. Not only does he do the work of creating helpful technology, he acts as a mentor for younger members of the Tetra Society, helping them to follow his path. Doing so grows his contribution exponentially.
All of this is done without reward, or so it seems. Jim volunteers his time, money, creativity and finances for the supplies needed to build the devices he does because he has genuine empathy for those he helps. This is enough for him.
“He has a huge heart,” Nichole told me. “And it is definitely in the right place.”
Jim was very forthright in revealing what motivates him to do the wonderful and remarkable work that he does.
“The biggest rewards come from the client: a smile a mile wide, and wide-eyed enthusiasm as they survey a new bed. The giggle from a usually totally un-emotional person, wow. They the clients and caregivers and parents or guardians on completion day pay me in a way I can hardly think of words to express.”
On behalf of those he assists, insofar as I am able, I can think of two: Thank you. You are Volunteer Central’s Volunteer of the Month, and deservedly so. In fact, with all you do, it may not even be enough. But it’s all we can do.