Jamison honored for service to Coalition

Karmen Jamison of Wyoming was recognized by United Way for her volunteer services with the Jones County Coalition. Jamison was a top three finalist in the senior category of volunteers. (Photo submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     United Way of Central Iowa held its annual volunteer recognition breakfast on April 20, and one Jones County resident was announced as a top three finalist in the senior citizen category.

     Karmen Jamison, of Wyoming, was nominated by Jennifer Husmann, project coordinator with the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition. Jamison has been with the Coalition for about six years now.

     She said her interest in the Coalition peaked after attending a program the Coalition hosted in Monticello about the dangerous drug-use related items teens hide in their bedrooms.

     “It opened my eyes,” Jamison said.

     She raised four kids of her own in Jones County, and now has grandkids. Jamison said Jones County is a great place to raise a family.

     She loves that the Coalition works hard to help educate youth, parents/guardians, and even the state legislature about issues affecting people in rural Iowa.

     “People know what the Coalition stands for,” she said.

     After it was announced that Jamison was a finalist for the volunteer award, voting was opened to the public from March through April. Jamison remarked that United Way received more votes this year than past years for the volunteers in the running.

     Jamison is more than a volunteer for the Coalition. She is heavily involved in the organization’s efforts. She serves on the Executive Committee as secretary, taking minutes at every regular meeting, as well as monthly Executive Committee meetings. Jamison is also active on the Outreach/Fundraising Committee and the Policy Committee.

     Through the Policy Committee, Jamison attends city council and county supervisor meetings, speaking up on behalf on the work to reduce youth substance abuse. She also contacts state legislators about important issues.

     “She works to be informed about youth health and safety issues by attending almost every Coalition training opportunity, including local, state and national events,” said Husmann.

     In 2016, Jamison led an effort to create a cookbook for the Coalition as a fundraising campaign. She spent hundreds of hours with the cookbook subcommittee, collecting and sorting through recipes. Jamison also helped in selling numerous cookbooks.

     “She has been very involved in several other fundraising events, including endowment fundraising, and Coalition’s annual Purse and Accessory Sale, the Scotch Grove Flea Market food stand, and many more events,” praised Husmann in her write-up about Jamison.

     As for how she feels about the recognition, Jamison said she honestly doesn’t know.

     “It’s certainly an honor,” she said, “but there are others more deserving than I. They put in a lot more hours.”

     Aside from her volunteer work with the Coalition, Jamison is a part-time lay pastor with her church, United Methodist in Wyoming. She plans to step away from that role next summer.

     She is also a volunteer with hospice through St. Luke’s Hospital, spending time with hospice patients in Jones County. Jamison has also been with the Wyoming food pantry since its inception 40 years ago.

     In her “free time,” Jamison hosts prayer and Bible studies at Bear Creek Café in Wyoming.

     “They call me the ‘community chaplain’ because I’ve been around this area for a long time,” joked Jamison. “I just follow where God leads me. Someone has to do it.”

     Jamison said she has no immediate plans to step away from her volunteer service.

     “I will do it as long as I possibly can,” she said.

     Jamison encourages people to volunteer wherever their hearts lead them.

     “Most of the time it only takes a few minutes of your time,” she said. “You’re helping others.”


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