To make a list of Carl Kasey's community involvement in McPherson, it might be quicker to mention what he hasn’t done.
The 90-year-old McPherson native lost track of his volunteer hours long ago, and doesn't foresee abandoning that passion anytime soon.
“I feel like it’s a privilege on my part to be able to be involved in ways that help people in the community,” he said. “It helps occupy my time and gives me a purpose. It gives me something to look forward to.”
For Kasey, this means a scheduled meeting, event or labor task almost every day of the week.
“I guess I’m selfish, I enjoy doing it,” he said. “It’s for my benefit as well as theirs.”
Churches United in Ministry
Although he has made an impact through various other ways throughout the community, some of his major involvement includes Churches United in Ministry, Save 'N' Share, Meals on Wheels, American Legion, Kiwanis and the McPherson Tree Board. In his earlier years, he also was a teacher in the district for 28 years.
His longest tenure has been with Churches United in Ministry, which he has been involved with since 1968. As a representative of his church, he was part of a group who started the ministry that coordinates communication, resources and outreach among area churches. He has been on the executive board for a decade.
“I enjoy seeing the benefits to the community, plus working with such outstanding people,” he said. “We have a wonderful group of volunteers to work with. They’re all nice church people.
One of its major projects, and one that is especially dear to Kasey’s heart, is the creation of the Save 'N' Share store, which first opened in 1979. The second-hand store, at 209 S. Main St., donates is proceeds back to Churches United in Ministry, which distributes it back to community members in need.
Kasey is proud of its growth and success in the community.
“It’s a good feeling to know that so many thousands of dollars go to the benefit of our community,” he said. “It’s just a joy to see so many people come in and take advantage of the bargains and the available items. There’s a satisfaction in my own heart knowing that so many people are able to be helped when the money generated by the store is properly used.”
While volunteering at the store, he has recently been cleaning the floors, fixing appliances and visiting with customers.
Although his involvement with the two entities has varied over time, his loyalties haven’t waivered.
“The work with Churches United in Ministry and the Save 'N' Share store (covers) a long period of time that’s been part of my life,” he said. “I don’t want to give it up.”
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In some cases, Kasey has had the opportunity to work alongside those he once knew as students. Some have stayed in the McPherson area, while others have moved on to spread their knowledge elsewhere. In either case, Kasey is glad to have done as much as he was able.
“It’s rewarding to see how some of these people have really advanced in their communities,” he said. “That’s gratifying because I had a very small part in their education which helped them develop their lives.”
Many of Kasey’s volunteer hours have come after retirement.
He has been a driver with Meals on Wheels for five years, which involves delivering food to eight to 10 clients once a week.
“It’s rewarding to bring them really nice meals,” he said. “You’re helping people in need. I know these people are getting a nutritious meal that they might not have if they’re trying to fix it themselves.”
Within the American Legion Post, he has been a chaplain for three years and on the color guard for five years, but a member on and off since 1949.
Kasey has been a member of noon Kiwanis for four years, and has led singing, filled Christmas food baskets for their annual donation drive, helped facilitate a community 5K run, and assisted in cooking meals for McPherson College basketball players during the holidays.
As part of the McPherson Tree Board, he has helped in celebrating Arbor Day, as well as count the city’s inventory of trees.
While attending First United Methodist Church, he has sung in the choir, been the secretary and treasurer of the United Methodist Men, and taught Sunday School classes.
“I enjoy being active and not sitting at home,” he said.