by Lynne Koral

Alaska Independent Blind had the pleasure of Jim and Ann Olsen's presence at our 1999 convention. The convention was held in Palmer, Alaska. It was our best convention in many respects due to many speakers and members. It was our first diabetes seminar, and Jim's information about a new book and diabetes education was one of the best things about that convention.

Not to mention that while merriment and mayhem were going on in the next room in the bar, Jim and Ann, without being asked, took under their wing a young woman who was trying to resolve some issues around her visual impairment. It seemed like Jim, Ann, Sandy Sanderson and I were there for a couple of hours.

Then there were the next two years that Jim came up for diabetes seminars through the state in Kenai, Cordova, Juneau and Sitka. From a sunny day fishing in Homer on a boat, where Ann caught the first and largest fish, to snow in Cordova in May, Jim was always willing to lend his expertise and his wit to people in Alaska.

We were among the fortunate affiliates whose states were visited. Ann even got to visit a Santa Claus house during our 1999 convention. We are so glad that we got to know Jim and Ann a little bit.

We learned about their commitment to the church where Jim was a leader. Jim also told us proudly about their daughters and grandchildren. We never learned about what he was going through on a daily basis with his diabetes.

Jim Olsen was a professional, and never took stands about people or organizations. He kept opinions of individuals to himself, and was courteous to everyone. Jim was also a prudent and cautious financial manager. He kept track of the financial transactions of all tickets sold at Braille Revival League events, NELDS events, and the ACB ATM machine which is a financial blessing for ACB.

Good-bye, Jim, and thank you for your commitment to blind people and American Council of the Blind. We will miss you.

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