To the editor:
I met Jim Cusack in 2017, when he applied to volunteer as a tutor with Walworth County Literacy Council. On his volunteer application Jim identified three skills he possessed that would qualify him for this work — his age, 80; ability to listen; and interest in others.
Jim was joined at our meeting by his wife, Jeanne, who would accompany him to all the future weekly tutoring sessions with his adult English as a Second Language student.
I learned that this ordinary man was quite extraordinary. Jim was an Army veteran, Master Carpenter, husband, father and advocate for the disadvantaged. He spoke to me about his work with Voces de la Frontera, where he advocated for the immigrant worker, and Jim and Jeanne’s trips to Chicago and Milwaukee to simply visit and use his listening ability with incarcerated individuals in the jail.
It was an honor for the literacy council when Jim showed his interest in others by volunteering for our organization. I was privileged to know this man for three of his 83 years. Jim’s age and his other skills did qualify him for tutoring, but it was his empathy and compassion for others that made a difference in their lives.
Jim died June 14 at the age of 83. His extraordinary works will not be forgotten.
Executive director, Walworth County Literacy Council
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