The scholarship program has been a longtime passion of Jim Olsen. As a chairperson of the current committee, the current committee members, all the people who have served in the past, and the numerous scholarship winners wish to express our sympathy to Jim's family.
The work of the scholarship program continues year-round. The work begins with finding new monies, renewing continuing scholarships and overseeing the endowment funds. There is much coordination between the Minneapolis office, the D.C. office, the committee, and the winners. After the winners are selected, Jim would schedule air flights, organize their hotel reservations, and reassure the parents of winners that they would make it to the national convention and learn many new things. One of the first people each winner would meet was Jim. He was the one who had their money for them for their stay, but also he demonstrated a positive attitude and gave each student the time he/she needed. If he could not be of assistance immediately, he made sure there was someone who could help. Each winner receives a printed award and both the president and the chair must sign them. Jim would keep me laughing with his quick wit as each one was signed.
After the convention, Jim's work would continue. He needed to stay in touch with each winner to acquire the proper paperwork of verification so that they could receive their money. This does not just happen once a year but depending on the school of higher learning it can be two or three times. With every program there can be challenges and this was no exception. Jim was open to suggestions and made excellent suggestions to work things out. He would always end these phone calls with a story to wrap things up on a positive note. Jim was an independent, hard-working, kind, reassuring individual to ACB and especially to the scholarship program.
It came as an exciting announcement that there will be an honorable way to remember Jim through the James R. Olsen Memorial Scholarship. It is in the planning stages.
A few of us have had a special opportunity to know Jim and his family since 1978. Their family and my family have been very close friends and have shared in many of the happiest moments in their lives. I attended a birthday celebration in November and I will keep the time we spent as a group close to my heart as we sat and told stories. I will miss our annual dinners at the national conventions when Ann and I would get Jim away from all the work. I also did this when she wasn't able to attend the convention. That was my assignment from her. In closing, I wish to express prayers, important memories, and gratification to his wife Ann and their daughters Sarah and Martha and their families. They have all been an integral part of our lives. I wish I could remember the many stories he told me to end this article, but they are left with Jim.
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