CHAMPAIGN – Jim Walder's heart is in the right place, according to Dick Dechert, president of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Illinois.
Walder showed his generosity and willingness to sacrifice by donating his profit from a house he built in the Trails of Brittany in southwest Champaign to the Ford County Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.
Walder, of Paxton, said he knew the organization needed the money.
"We had a fundraising meeting and it was just something that got thrown out for five seconds and then we moved on to something else," Walder said.
But he had had a little history in building houses for charity after taking part in a Habitat Blitz recently, when four builders each built a home in a week. "Throughout the meeting I was thinking maybe I could do that. I thought if I could pull (the Habitat Blitz) off, I could pull this off."
Dechert, along with Sarah Mutchmore, regional director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Ford County, were thankful for the donation. The check presented to the organization amounted to $66,180.67. That amount included broker Marjorie Williams' take, valued at $9,125, as well as what Walder called deals from subcontractors and suppliers.
"I'm fortunate to work with really good people," Williams said. "I always say that if we can do just a little, we can really change the world."
Dechert added that organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters "wouldn't exist if not for people like this.
"Big Brothers/Big Sisters is the only one that does one-on-one mentoring. Every organization like this is good, but it's something when you see the kids reached directly. The excitement people have when those kids do something."
Walder has been a mentor since 2004.
"I'm in the organization, I think it's been great," Walder said. "A lot of kids need a mentor. I've seen how my little brother has grown up. I've had him for four years and he's made some bad choices, but he's also made some good choices and I think he's benefited a little bit by me being a big brother with him. If you multiply that by 100 kids, which is about what they have in Ford County, it's terrific. I like the organization and its philosophy."
And Dechert is grateful.
"Without his generosity and thoughtfulness, these things wouldn't exist," he said. "We really thank him for being so wonderful."