As a child in England, Arthur Gimson learned the importance of neighbors.
Gimson recalls his mother giving a neighbor sugar, even though she knew the person couldn’t repay the “loan.”
When he moved to Carefree, he brought that mentality to the Foothills; and for his efforts, The Foothills Caring Corps named him its Humanitarian of the Year.
“His unselfish and dedicated service to our neighbors as a van and medical transportation driver has made a significant difference in our community,” said Debbra Determan, Foothills Caring Corps director.
“As I head into my own retirement from the Caring Corps, I am delighted to recognize Arthur for all he has done for us.”
The Foothills Caring Corps is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting independence and enhancing the quality of life for older residents.
Determan gave Gimson the award, which previously honored William (Bill) Budris, Phil and Marion Abramowitz, Jill Ford, David Schwan, Jean and Richard (Dick) Segil, William (Bill) Bergman and Peter Slocum.
The agency recently celebrated 20 years of serving the community by providing a variety of invaluable services, including medical and van transportation, friendly visits, mobile meals, shopping assistance and more for North Valley residents, including those in Cave Creek, Carefree, North Phoenix and North Scottsdale.
Gimson was born in Kingsbury, Middlesex, England. At 6 months old, his parents moved to Watford, Hertfordshire, where he attended Parkgate Road primary school and the Watford Grammar School for Boys. His father worked for the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (the U.K. equivalent of Social Security).
His father could not enlist because his work was deemed “essential.” Instead, he kept his daytime job from 9 to 5, and after hours he served as a Home Guard air raid warden who made sure curtains on houses showed no lights. Also among his duties was standing watch on the tops of tall buildings, looking out for Germans dropping incendiary bombs to find out their positioning.
Gimson, along with his two brothers, and his mother slept on mattresses in a steel air raid shelter in the front room of their house. Even though the war ended in 1945, rationing continued until 1953.
After the war, even though his parents were working, they volunteered at the local community center, which hosted dances, theater and other activities for the locals. His mother baked cookies—or “biscuits,” as they’re called in England—especially coconut macaroons and other mini desserts, selling them for pennies, with all money raised going to a needy cause.
At school, Gimson and his twin brother were encouraged to join the Wolf Cubs, later graduating to the Boy Scouts.
After leaving high school, he spent nearly 30 years with Hilton Hotels. Management staff were encouraged to participate in trade associations but also in community service activities. He participated in the United Way, later as a member of the Kiwanis Club and 14 years as a member of the Rotary Club.
After moving to Carefree, Gimson became very involved with his homeowners association. He was later elected to the Carefree Town Council for a two-year term.
Soon, he became a volunteer for the Foothills Caring Corps. Even though Pastor Jayne Hubbard told him never to be afraid of saying no (she didn’t want her drivers getting burned out), it was difficult for Gimson not to accept requests for help.
He has been the Caring Corps federal Passenger Assistance Safety & Sensitivity (PASS) trainer since 2012. Gimson is the first volunteer who was certified as a PASS trainer in Arizona. The six-hour PASS training class he teaches is required for all Level II drivers and assistants who are transporting.
For Gimson, it is humbling to be nominated as Humanitarian of the Year for just doing something that brought him so much pleasure. A tap on his shoulder from a neighbor after a van trip, with a smile saying “thank you,” was just as satisfying as getting a paycheck.
He said in retrospect, he wishes he kept a log of the van trips and medical transportation runs that he drove. The stories he can tell could fill a book.
Info: 480-488-1105, http://foothillscaringcorps.com