CAREFREE – The Foothills Caring Corps, a volunteer-driven non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to promoting independence and enhancing the quality of life for older residents, recently named Arthur Gimson their Humanitarian of the Year.
The award was given to Gimson by Debbra Determan, executive director of the Foothills Caring Corps. Previous winners include William (Bill) Budris, Phil and Marion Abramowitz, Jill Ford, David Schwan, Jean and Richard (Dick) Segil, William (Bill) Bergman and Peter Slocum.
“We are honored to name Arthur our Humanitarian of the Year. His unselfish and dedicated service to our Neighbors as a van and medical transportation driver has made a significant difference in our community,” Determan said. “As I head into my own retirement from the Caring Corps, I am delighted to recognize Arthur for all he has done for us.”
The agency which recently celebrated 20 years of serving the community provides a variety of invaluable services including medical and van transportation, friendly visits, mobile meals, shopping assistance and more for northeast Valley residents.
For information, call 480-488-1105 or visit foothillscaringcorps.com.
Established in 2000, The Foothills Caring Corps is a volunteer-driven non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to promoting independence and enhancing the quality of life for older residents. To volunteer, become a donor or to learn more about the programs of the Caring Corps, click www.foothillscaringcorps.com, call 480-488- 1105 or visit the offices at 7275 E. Easy Street, Suite B101, in Carefree. Or, write PO Box 831, Carefree, AZ 85377 or email@example.com.
Contributed by Arthur Gimson, Foothills
Humanitarian of the Year:
WWII broke out shortly after Arthur was born, he does not remember much of the early years, even though he heard stories about it from his parents. Arthur’s father worked for the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (UK equivalent of Social Security). He was deemed ‘essential’ so could not enlist, giving him two jobs. His father held a daytime 9 to 5 and was a member of the Home Guard (air raid warden), which made sure curtains on houses showed no lights. Another part of the job was standing watch on the tops of tall buildings looking out for Germans dropping incendiary bombs to find out their positioning. Arthur, along with his two brothers, and his mother slept on mattresses in a steel air raid shelter in the front room of their house. Even though the war ended in 1945, rationing continued until 1953. With the return of soldiers, sailors and aviators unemployment was high…
One vivid memory, Arthur recalls, from his mother, was when a neighbor came to the house asking to “borrow” a cup of sugar. All of them at home knew that the loan would never be repaid, so did his mother, but she gave the neighbor the sugar, and told her children the importance of neighbors.
After the war, even though both of his parents were working, they volunteered at the local Community Center, which hosted dances, theater, and other activities for the locals. His mother would cook biscuits (cookies), coconut macaroons and other mini-dessert items selling them for pennies, with all money raised going to a needy cause. This was another example of a ‘teaching moment’ for Arthur.
At school, Arthur and his twin brother were encouraged to join the Wolf Cubs, later graduating to the Boy Scouts, again with a focus on helping those who needed it most.
During Arthur’s, nearly 30 years with Hilton Hotels, management staff were encouraged to participate in trade associations but also in community service activities. He participated in the United Way, later as a member of the Kiwanis Club and 14 years as a member of the Rotary Club.
Over the years, he would often hear, “The more you put into it, the more that you will get out.” After moving to Carefree, Arthur became very involved with his HOA. He later was elected to the Carefree Town Council for one two-year term…a job, where one term was enough for him.
With David Schwan’s encouragement, Arthur became one of the volunteers for the Foothills Caring Corps. Even though Pastor Jayne Hubbard told him never to be afraid of saying no (she didn’t want her drivers getting burned out), it was always difficult for Arthur not to accept requests for help.
Arthur has been the Caring Corps federal Passenger Assistance Safety & Sensitivity (PASS) trainer since 2012. Arthur is the first volunteer who has been certified as a PASS trainer in Arizona. The 6-hour PASS training class he teaches is required for all our Level II drivers and assistants who are transporting Neighbors who require the wheelchair lift to enter a wheelchair accessible van or who will be transporting a wheelchair-bound Neighbor to a medical appointment. Each trainee is PASS certified. Arthur has trained over 60+ drivers and assistants. In addition, the volunteers he trains then need a re-certification after three years, which has been an additional 40+ volunteers.
For Arthur, it is extremely humbling to be nominated as Humanitarian of the Year for just doing something that brought him so much pleasure. A tap on his shoulder from a neighbor after a Van Trip, with a smile saying, “thank you,” was just as satisfying as getting a paycheck.
He has many people to thank, from David Schwan who introduced him to the Caring Corps, to Debbra Determan, to Pastor Jayne, Virginia Workman, Cheryl Simmons, Betty O, Nancy C, Maggie Palmer, Poppy (aka Chirpy), Jennifer, Maria, Heather and Donna. All of whom, along with others, including Bill Budris and Joe Cherrick, that he feels he shares this award with. Worthy of special acknowledgment is Patti (of Patti Wagon fame) who was Arthur’s assistant for the majority of the Van Trips, the best assistant that he could have ever had.
In retrospect, he wishes he had kept a log of the Van Trips and Medical Transportation runs that he drove. The stories he can tell could fill a book.