For small communities like Keithsburg, Illinois, the commitment of its volunteer servicemen and women are what literally keeps the town alive. With the help of Ascentra Credit Union, we award $300 to a man who has dedicated more than half of his life to paying it forward.
Jesse James has been a member of the volunteer fire department in Keithsburg for 45 years. The town has been able to relying on Jesse to be there for them during an emergency and he has never let them down.
Even at the age of 75 and after multiple health issues, Jesse still never misses a call. When asked how long he plans on volunteering he said as long as he can go.
“As long as my body can take it.” Jesse says, “I love doing it. I don't know what it is I just love helping people.”
A few city leaders and fellow volunteer firefighters wanted Jesse to know his work was appreciated so they nominated him for WQAD’s Pay It Forward program.
Jesse was overwhelmed with the surprise. He says he plans to spend the money on Christmas gifts.
The $300 is a very small token of appreciation from a town that could never repay him for his dedication.