Kelley wins Book of Golden Deeds award
West Fargo resident Jim Kelley joined elite company last week when he was recognized with this year’s West Fargo Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds award for his volunteer contributions to the area.
“The award is not for someone who has done their job well,” Exchange Club President Elect Tim Keller said. “It is for volunteering and going above and beyond to improve the community, and Jim certainly does that.”
The Valley City native has lived in West Fargo for 37 years with his wife, Merrie. They have been married for 42 years and have three grown children –Christopher, Megan and Matthew – and six grandchildren, with one more on the way.
He joined the Exchange Club roughly a year ago, but has been actively volunteering since 1982 with Flame of Faith United Methodist Church. After retiring from a career as an insurance auditor for Overland Solutions Inc. in 2012, he greatly increased his volunteer workload.
He began his work with Meals on Wheels two years ago, delivering hot meals to senior citizens in their homes, citing the organization’s ever-growing need for more drivers.
“There are individuals that I deliver meals to where I am the only person they will see all day,” Kelley said. “They don’t have the ability to get out, so it gives them a chance to see somebody and it gives someone a chance to make sure they are all right. Also, they get a very healthy meal that they probably would not get otherwise.”
He often drives two different routes a day, five days a week, and enjoys the company each day.
“It’s enjoyable,” Kelley said. “You get to really know the people, and if I can get a smile out of them, I think I have accomplished something. It is a good feeling when someone is happy to see you, too.”
Kelley also volunteers at the Great Plains Food Bank in downtown Fargo. He volunteers as a cashier with Sheyenne Crossings and he works with second graders who need reading practice at L.E. Berger Elementary School.
With all of the help he provides for the community, it is easy to see why Kelley would be considered for such an award, although he does not see it that way.
“I didn’t deserve it,” Kelley said. “There are a lot of people that do a lot of volunteer work, and to me, each and every one of them deserves an award. I don’t do any more than any other person. You do volunteer work because you enjoy it, not for the recognition or the awards.”
At the award ceremony on March 25, Flame of Faith Pastor Thom Bowsher told the audience of a study in which only one of 10 people stopped to help an actor playing an injured homeless man.
“Jim is that one-of-10 guy,” Keller said. “He is that good Samaritan that will help anyone who needs it. The time he has devoted to volunteering has been amazing.”
The West Fargo Exchange Club is linked to a national organization that emphasizes Americanism, youth, and community service while offering an opportunity for fellowship and informative programs on the community level.