Bill N.

Baldwin City, KS
Nominated by Tina Roberts

Volunteered for:

Douglas County Senior Services, Inc.

Length of Service:

25 hours per month for 3 years

Volunteered for:

Baldwin First United Methodist Church

Length of Service:

30 hours per month for 30 years

Volunteered for:

Baldwin City Community Emergency Fund

Length of Service:

40 hours per month for 30 years

February 4, 2014

Bill Neuenswander has been involved in volunteer service since the early 1970s were he first organized a Cheney, Kansas Emergency Fund that served needy people in the community with emergency needs including utilities, rent, food and medicine. In 1980 Bill moved to Baldwin City, Ks. where he helped establish a similar Baldwin Community Emergency Fund. Over the last 30 years Bill has been involved in multiple community service activities including contributing to the Baldwin First United Methodist Church care giving ministries for community seniors, Baldwin Community Food Pantry, serving at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK), establishing and coordinating the Baldwin City Senior wheels in cooperation with the Douglas County Senior Services, providing service to the Baldwin First United Methodist Church Mission Committee, participating in the Baldwin City Rotary Club service activities, and many other church/community service needs. Bill has cooked hundreds of gallons of chili or soup to raise funds for needy causes.
Bill Neuenswander provided over 50 years of service to public education and Baker University as a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools and Dean of the BU College of Education. As retirement approached for Bill he asked himself, do I get busy dying or get busy living. As a person of the faith, his choice was to get busy living by adopting Rotary International's position of "ser vice above self". Bill's faith position is that one never learns to live until he/she learns to serve. In public education, Bill's primary service was to kids; however, as he moved into retirement, his service has focused on the many less fortunate older people, most of whom have not been as blessed as he.
Bill would choose to credit others for the many service accomplishments in which he has participated. He hopes to have served as a catalyst to see that many kid's lives were salvaged and many needy people were provided food for the next meal, utilities for heating, medication for health needs, visits for elderly shut-ins, or transportation for those who could no longer drive. Whether selecting and/or working with educators to serve kids, drivers for the Senior Wheels, persons to serve in the food pantry, persons to cook for LINK, or cooking chili or biscuits and gravy to help fund service activities, Bill knows it takes a community of caring individuals to truly make a difference. Bill would tell you he feels fortunate to have worked with many persons who also place service to others above self.
What stories could Bill tell? He finds it difficult to place a value on acts of kindness that result in trips to the doctor, food for the table, medicine for health needs, or the first visit from a kind face in days? Bill has participated with others during 2013/14 winter months in providing 1) transportation for over fifty seniors, via "Senior Wheels,", 2) helping the Baldwin First United Methodist Church mission team serve three different meals to over 160 persons each time at LINK, 3) helping staff the Baldwin Food Pantry each Saturday providing food for 30 to 50 individuals and/or families each week, 4) raising funds for the Baldwin Community Emergency Fund that annually distributes approximately $25,000 to needy recipients, and 4) visiting many senior shut-ins as part of the church care-giving team. Bill believes that each act of kindness provides a caring story for someone. Bill feels thankful and blessed for the grace others have shown to him and believes that grace is seldom wasted on others.

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Nominations - 1,060

Votes - 110,781

Prize Description

The National Winner’s designated non-profit charity will receive a $5,000 donation, courtesy of Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network. Each Local Winner’s designated non-profit charity will receive a $500 donation. All Winners will receive a certificate and a spot in the Contest’s “Wall of Fame” here on SaluteToSeniorService.com in recognition of their outstanding service.

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