When asked about his volunteer work in the community, Senior Corps RSVP volunteer Jim Koeliker summed it up best, “There’s no better place to meet people; caring, happy people who lift me up.” Jim retired early in order to stay home and take care of his wife. He started volunteering because he was looking for flexible options away from home to keep moving. He loves to meet people and help fill a need.

Jim is a retired professor in Biological and Agriculture Engineering at Kansas State University. He was a founding member of the faculty committee that established the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Secondary Major at K-State in 1991. Jim first started working with the Konza Prairie Biological Station in 1978 as a researcher, but now he enjoys assisting with events, environmental programs with kids, and was a member of the Friends of the Konza Prairie board for six years.

During the past 5 years, Jim has been organizing and running the parking lot and line of cars for the Harvesters CiCo Park location each month. His skills and success from the CiCo location has extended to helping at other locations including the Salvation Army, Blue Valley United Methodist Church, and working with the K-State students to help design a better plan for their location. Jim has also spent the past 9 years working with the VITA tax program in Junction City, assists the Ogden Friendship House with their “fix it” list twice a month, and he has been actively involved with the Crisis Center for several years. He first started volunteering with the Crisis Center with his wife where they helped strengthen the center and fund-raised for the initial shelter. Jim is now back on the board to assist with growth and developing a new facility. He is also involved with his church, Riley County Senior Services Center, and with state and national organizations related to his work in agriculture and engineering.

It is no wonder that Jim was selected as the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year in March at the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation’s CFA Awards.