Volunteer of the year lights up town
“Everything I do, I do because I love people.”That’s how Jim Waters summed up his volunteer work in Glenwood Springs on Saturday night after he was named volunteer of the year at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association annual banquet. Waters is the man behind all the Christmas lights on Grand Avenue each year and the inspiration for many local youth to become Eagle Scouts. Waters, 59, has been stringing up Christmas lights in Glenwood for more than a decade, and taking Boy Scouts on camping trips for far longer. He is a franchisee of Christmas Decor, arranging holiday and party decorations all year long. But while his business puts money in his wallet, it’s his volunteer time that nourishes his soul. In recognizing Waters as volunteer of the year, the Chamber honored a man who says he’s pinched himself many times, realizing, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”Lucky because he gets to immerse himself in the Christmas spirit year-round, and donate his time to the city of Glenwood Springs each fall, putting up Christmas lights on Grand Avenue. This year, he said, the time and equipment he donated to the city putting up the lights was worth $10,000. Some of the kids of Troop 276 who have had Waters as a scoutmaster say they’re pretty lucky, too. Waters’ son Jason said all the Boy Scout trips his father led over the years instilled values in him that could not be attained anywhere else. “It was the fun experiences of such things as backpacking, snowshoeing, camping and pancake tosses that enabled me to more easily accept the harder lessons that need to get passed down from father to son, such as integrity, self discipline, leadership and moral development,” Jason said. At the ceremony Saturday, members of the Chamber watched a vintage-looking film showing photographs of Waters at work stringing Christmas lights and having fun with local youth on Boy Scout campouts. “This is amazing that I get awarded for something I love to do,” Waters said as he accepted his award. He said that his work in Scouting impacted the kids’ lives and helped them become adults. “It’s amazing how many kids I had go through the troop that I talk to later on in life and they say it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them.”Waters’ biggest accomplishment in life?”Getting kids to become adults.”
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