(Senior Advocate Professional Winner)
I am nominating Jim Dampier for a Covenant Platinum Award. Jim has served as Minister of Senior Adults at First Baptist Church since 1998. He is paid a small, part-time salary. However, the work he does goes far beyond part-time, often far beyond what most people would consider a full time position. Jim feels he is here to minister, therefore does not consider the time involved.
Jim is a graduate of Carson-Newman College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as pastor of churches in Indiana and East Tennessee. He is not interactive with other professionals through a local pastors’ conference, and with Carson-Newman College professors and administrators, as well as keeps, a good rapport with the staff of First Baptist Church. Appalachian Outreach offers him interaction with people of all ages and positions for helping the larger community.
Jim leads a weekly worship service/Bible Study in one assisted living facility and a similar service monthly in another facility. Continually he visits people in several hospitals, and ministers to church members, and some who are not, in nursing homes of who are ill or shut-in at home.
Monthly programs at church include a prayer breakfast for seniors, and a senior adult lunch. The programs for the lunches range form just for fun of entertainment to informative and learning programs. When needed, a program is planned to explain something going on in the church. Throughout the year, trips are taken to plays, festivals, events, attractions, museums, or a drive through the mountains.
Jim makes himself available to senior citizens to do anything they need him for. He will go to the store to get mile, bread, etc. for someone, take another to the doctor or to get a prescription, spend hours waiting for another to get glasses repaired or get a new phone. He has made small home repairs or replaced light bulbs for one living alone. He often provides transportation, usually without reimbursement for gas. When emotional support is needed or someone is lonely, Jim is there.
Senior adults are treated with respect and love, with attention to their physical difficulties. Often he is called on to minister to grieving family members in the illness of death of a loved one and/or help conduct the funeral. Occasionally he conducts a wedding.
In addition to the great job he does with all this, Jim also teaches a mixed adult Sunday School class. Much time and study goes into this, evident in the quality of lessons he presents each week. Proof that his teaching is academic, and much studied, is seen in the make-up of his class: retired professors, pastors, missionaries, educational directors, teachers, music directors and professional leaders.
Although he works more with senior adults, Jim is open and willing to learn from younger people. He likes to interact with the youth at church and at Carson- Newman College and with children. Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time does not mean to him that it can’t or should not be changed. He is open to new ideas while holding onto old, true values. Currently he has a college student working with him as an intern as part of his college coursework. He feels they have shared a lot and learned from each other.
Hobbies include fly fishing, camping, genealogy, music, and watching football. Trombone is his instrument and he plays in the church orchestra and the Walters Stat community Band in Morristown. Along with his wife, Kathy, he enjoys spoiling his Beagles, and occasionally takes them to visit people in nursing homes and retirement facilities.
All this is accomplished by a seventy-four year old man who has overcome quadruple by-pass heart surgery and lives with diabetes. His active lifestyle and service to others keeps him going. This dedicated, hard-working senior adult, working for senior adults, would be very humbled and honored to receive this award.