Since the passing of Jim Olsen, many in ACB have made statements about the impact he had on them personally and on our organization. Some of these comments will appear in the pages of this magazine. As I thought about what I wanted to write this month, I decided that it would be fitting for me to pay tribute to, and thank Jim publicly for his service to both ACB and Melanie Brunson.
When I think of Jim, two qualities come to mind -- faith and fun. Jim was a man of abiding faith. His approach to it was quiet and without fuss, but at the same time, he was matter-of-fact about its existence. He had faith in God, faith in Jim Olsen, faith in ACB, and faith in people. This was demonstrated to me time and time again when I witnessed his interactions with other staff members and people in the registration office at ACB conventions. I experienced it myself when we discussed issues on the telephone. His answers communicated a belief that each problem was solvable, each goal attainable, each person valuable. During our last conversation about some financial decisions that needed to be made, we had to deal with some hard questions. He called me at home on a Saturday afternoon after he'd gotten all of the information together that we needed. He brought the subject up by simply saying, "OK. Here's what we've got. What do you think we should do?" The question wasn't "Can we do something?" He assumed that we could. And, as it turned out, we did. He was right.
The other thing that stands out about Jim is his sense of humor. I couldn't count the number of times that I've heard a staff member answer the telephone in the office and burst out laughing after a minute or two. Many of our conversations with him had to begin or end with a joke or a funny story. Many a late night session of poring over budgets or crunching numbers was laced with little quips, teasing or tales from funny incidents that took place in Jim's family or at past ACB conventions. Jim gave the impression that he thought his work was fun and he wanted you to have a good time too.
Jim will be sorely missed for these and many other reasons. But he has left us a wonderful legacy. If each of us can embrace a little of the faith, the sense of fun and the can-do spirit that we appreciated so much in Jim, and apply them to the endeavors that are important to us, both as individuals and ACB members, there's no telling what we can accomplish. Thank you, Jim, for the reminder.
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