Many think that James (Jim) Amos, volunteer extraordinaire of Kalamazoo, Michigan, should be cloned. He is an example of how one person’s unselfish volunteer spirit can positively impact a community and its citizens.
Following his retirement in the early 1990’s, Amos developed new skills in video production. This is one senior citizen who embraced technology and used his life experiences to develop programs cablecast to more than 60,000 households. He answered the need for someone to film and edit both events and personalities at the local cable access station and, over the years, became the station’s most ardent volunteer producer, instructor, and supporter. Last year along, Amos averaged a 40-hour volunteer workweek, which is equivalent to $30,846.40 worth of time.
Amos’ volunteer service is vast and far-reaching. As a member of RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), he has created videos to attract seniors as volunteers. He has videotaped weekly meetings for the City Commission, which has enabled many citizens who have difficulty getting around, the opportunity to keep in touch with local government. He has presided on the Shepherds Center Board of Directors, as well as on the Board of the Kendall United Methodist Church. He has served as a representative for the Boy Scouts of America, and has provided pastoral counseling to hospital patients and inmates of the Ionia Prison.
Amos has produced videos to promote public awareness of nonprofits and highlighted their volunteer opportunities and upcoming events. He also has greeted visitors at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport for the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and served on the RSVP Advisory Council where he was instrumental in recruiting and mobilizing retirees interested in a “second career.”
Amos brings community events into the homes of many who would be denied the experience due to low income, disabilities, frail health, or time constraints. He tapes performances of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, city parades, the Kalamazoo International Air Show and Kalamazoo Sings out, to name a few. He produces educational shows on such topics as Living Wills, Eating Smart, Safety Tips for Seniors, Alzheimer’s, Understanding Prescriptions and Grandparents’ Rights. His tireless contribution to his community is particularly impressive considering that he has had to overcome complications from several heart attacks.
Jim Amos is a senior citizen that is living a rich, full life of constant learning. His service has not only contributed to the overall well being of the people in Kalamazoo County, but his motivation, energy, and unselfishness has inspired his peers and youth to give of themselves to their community.