Reblog via | Hannibal Courier Post
After his wife recommended he take a break from retirement, a Hannibal man quickly found his niche in a program that touches thousands of lives in Northeast Missouri.
Jim McBride joined the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program as site coordinator about six years ago, after that suggestion from his wife, Jean McBride. In five locations throughout a five-county region, McBride personally reviews each tax form before they head off to the Internal Revenue Service or Missouri Department of Revenue. McBride is among 34 Missourians set to receive the 2016 Senior Service award for volunteer work from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, during a banquet Wednesday, May 4, at the State Capitol. He said he felt “humbled” by the award, and quickly offered warm commendations for the two other finalists nominated by Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Director Stacey Nicholas — Kathy Corum and Ron Walden — and the dedicated team of 19 volunteers and staff members working together toward a common goal of giving back to their communities.
Strong guidance during explosive growth
So far, VITA program participants are set to receive a total of $900,000 in refunds and processing fees they would normally pay — at a minimum of $140, Nicholas said. Teams of volunteers prepare taxes free of charge for individuals and families who earn less than $62,000, through a partnership between Douglass Community Services, the United Way of the Mark Twain Area, University of Missouri Extension and the Internal Revenue Service.
As of Thursday, April 7, 739 tax forms were completed or being processed, compared to 555 tax returns form 2014, Mark Twain United Way Executive Director Frank Di Tillo said. For the 2015 tax season, McBride will have touched about 1,800 lives in the area, based on average household size figures and the soaring number of returns so far, Di Tillo said.
“I was amazed how many new people we had this time,” McBride said.
McBride said more volunteers would be needed for next year. He recommended contacting the United Way of the Mark Twain Area, at (573)221-2761.
Throughout the week, McBride travels to VITA locations in Hannibal, Monroe City, Shelbina, Palmyra and Canton. When he first started as site coordinator, he spent an entire day reviewing tax returns with help. Today, McBride often reviews the tax return as the preparer works on the computer or within an hour. McBride said he and all of the volunteers loved to help and see the impact that the service made on people's lives.
“I know they all enjoy helping people,” he said.
Expressions of gratitude from participants served as highlights for every member of the VITA team.
“It's when people thank you,” McBride said. “They truly appreciate it.”
After a successful career in healthcare administration, McBride found similarities in his current role.
Before coming to Hannibal in 1986, McBride served as regional director or corporate director at a series of healthcare facilities across the country — including Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Michigan. During those years, McBride took the helm to make sure things were running smoothly.
The opportunity to work with so many people over the years prepared McBride for warm interactions with volunteers and participants during VITA.
McBride started working with Nicholas at Douglass Community Center during the flood of 2008, helping secure block grant funds for Missouri households affected by the disaster. He is a member of RSVP, too. He applied for the job of site coordinator after the block effort work.
McBride said he was grateful for the assistance he received from Nicholas, Di Tillo, Stephanie Cooper, Executive Director of Douglass Community Services, and Andrew Zumwalt from the University of Missouri Extension Office.
McBride's colleagues had kind words to share, too.
Nicholas said the volunteers were dedicated to their jobs, and they all liked working with McBride. Also, McBride troubleshoots all of the technology, researches IRS details and constantly comes up with solutions — “keeping people happy” during situations like a recent crash of the IRS software.
Di Tillo said McBride was “extremely conscientious” with his job and he helps people stay in their comfort zones. Di Tillo also said he enjoyed the knowledge McBride shared.
“He always leaves me a little smarter,” Di Tillo said.
A happy future
Jim McBride and Jean McBride will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. He said he appreciated the encouragement she provided him to serve the community. They have three children and three grandchildren.
As the award banquet drew closer, McBride said he felt excited about the honor.
'I appreciate it. I'm humbled by it,” McBride said.
But he was quick to offer thanks to the people he worked each week.
“Still, the heavy lifting is done by volunteers.”