A fisherman with a noble heartJim Schoeberl hooked a keeper Wednesday at a surprise banquet given in his honor by the Alexandria Sertoma Club. The Sertoma Club awarded Schoeberl the Service to Mankind Award for 2011 at the celebration held inside the Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria. The award is given to the area’s most deserving volunteer. It is the highest honor presented by the organization to a non-member.
By: Wendy Wilson, Alexandria Echo Press
Jim Schoeberl hooked a keeper Wednesday at a surprise banquet given in his honor by the Alexandria Sertoma Club.
The Sertoma Club awarded Schoeberl the Service to Mankind Award for 2011 at the celebration held inside the Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria.
The award is given to the area’s most deserving volunteer. It is the highest honor presented by the organization to a non-member.
Looking around with surprise at the faces of friends and family, Schoeberl beamed while applause for him thundered through the room. He attended the banquet believing his friend was going to receive the award. He had even prepared a speech for his buddy.
Schoeberl is the past president and current board member of “Let’s Go Fishing.” The organization gives back to seniors in the community by taking them on free fishing and boating excursions. It also provides outdoor activities to youths, veterans and disabled adults.
Several speakers came forward to describe the far-reaching effects of Schoeberl’s actions.
“I think a lot of the program’s success has been because of the enthusiasm of Jim,” Mary Krueger from Let’s Go Fishing said. “Jim spends countless hours getting rods and reels and tackle ready for our guests.”
Schoeberl and his wife, Marian, are managing Let’s Go Fishing trips this summer for more than 1,400 seniors. The couple is also involved with Elder Network.
But Schoeberl’s strong volunteer spirit extends much farther.
He is a site supervisor and construction committee member for Douglas County’s Habitat for Humanity.
Schoeberl worked on 25 of the 27 Habitat homes built in the area. In the early years, according to Habitat for Humanity Director Lori Anderson, he volunteered five days a week. At night, he and Marian would call volunteers.
And what became of the many people Schoeberl had helped?
“They now have a safe place to sleep. Their children have a place to do homework and invite friends over, and a place to call home. Thank you, Jim,” Anderson told him.
Habitat’s Dave Anderson described Schoeberl’s ready smile and good humor. His voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of Schoeberl’s impact:
“We went from two volunteers to over 400. We went from zero homes to 27… [Jim] has an unusual ability to get along with pretty much anybody. Young people show up to volunteer; he helps them. Old guys show up to volunteer; he helps them.
“Jim, we would never be where we are without you.” Anderson barely got the words out; he was so moved.
Schoeberl participates in numerous other volunteer activities. He was on the board of directors of the United Way for six years. He is active at St. Mary’s Church, Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club.
When he is not volunteering, Schoeberl likes spending time with his grandchildren and fishing, of course.
The Schoeberl family moved to Alexandria in 1989. Jim retired in 1996 and has been actively volunteering since then. Jim and Marian have four sons and 10 grandchildren.
Son Brian Schoeberl remembered his father’s strong work ethic as an example for him and his brothers: “You work hard. You play hard; but you go at it with a lot of passion and you stick to it.”
After accepting the award, Schoeberl thanked everyone for the honor and praised the organizations, volunteers and those who had given donations.
“Some people say I speak too much … but when you believe in something, it’s not hard to do.”
Sertoma International is a volunteer civic service organization with about 27,000 members in more than 800 clubs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Sertoma stands for service to mankind. Its primary service project is helping people with speech and hearing disorders.