Service guided by gratitude

By Jaye Alderson | For The Compass | October 29, 2014

Geldmeyer says service to church motivated by thankfulness for better health

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]OSHKOSH — Gratitude brought Jim Geldmeyer to dedicated service at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish. For 28 1/2 years, he built prototype models of washers, dryers and tumblers for Speed Queen (now Alliance Laundry) in Ripon.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Jim Geldmeyer (Jeanne Merten | For The Compass)
Your Catholic Neighbor: Jim Geldmeyer (Jeanne Merten | For The Compass)

“Then I got health problems,” he said. “I got real sick and couldn’t get out of the house for about 11 years. I couldn’t do anything.”

He retired and moved to Oshkosh, where he and his wife, Jan, found St. Raphael’s. “We like the church and how friendly everyone was there. We like the people,” he said.

When he finally started to feel better again and could do more, he wanted to help the parish in whatever ways he could. “It gives me a second chance,” Geldmeyer said. “It gives me something to do now … and what better a place to help out than my church?”

He said his volunteer work “just kind of happened. I just try to help out, that’s all.”

Geldmeyer said he started with ministries, serving as an usher, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, sacristan and catechist. Then he started doing small jobs around the parish, whatever needed to be done.

“I just started helping a little bit here and a little bit there, doing this and that,” he said. “It just kind of progressed.”

Geldmeyer enjoys helping with the fish fry dinners during Lent, setting up tables and serving the fish and potato salad after they are prepared. He also helps reorganize the books in the pews on Monday mornings after they are “messed up” during Sunday services.

Another job is filling in for the regular maintenance man when he is out and doing odd jobs like fixing things, tidying up, watering plants, cleaning the font when it gets dirty and moving items to clean and install new carpeting.

“Today I was cutting grass and getting rid of leaves,” he said. “Sometimes you just ask what they want done and what you can help them with,” he said. “You pitch in wherever you can.”

Geldmeyer said he puts in between two and four days a week at the parish. He also is a member of the Knights of Columbus and helps raise money to help others.

He said he liked going to church as a child, and still enjoys it. “I go to the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, and I like the teen Mass on Sunday, too,” he said. “It gets you re-energized.” He and his wife have been members of St. Raphael for about 10 years, with the past five years actively volunteering. It has helped him develop good friendships with other volunteers and parish staff members.

“I feel good that I’m able to do the work again now,” he says. “It helps the parish and helps you get closer to other members of the church.”

He said his parish work has helped get him through some tough times. “It’s brought me closer to God by doing this,” he said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Jim Geldmeyer

Parish: St. Raphael the Archangel, Oshkosh

Age: 67

Favorite saint: Anthony

Words to live by: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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