James D. Schlumpf was recently elected as a "Distinguished Senior Man of New Canaan" by the Senior Men's Club.

"Most members of the Senior Men's Club give many hours of volunteer service at local non-profit and government organizations in order to make things better for the community," Paul Stein, club pPresident, said. "While it is typical of our members to work hard in volunteer jobs to make New Canaan a better place to live, Jim has gone far above and beyond the average both as a worker and in leadership positions. His contributions of time and effort over the years are notable."

The honor of being "distinguished" is done periodically by the Senior Men's Club after reviewing the candidate's contributions and a vote by the entire organization. Stein said Schlumpf deserves the award for the "thousands of hours of unpaid volunteer service to the community over many years."

"It was surprising for starters," Schlumpf said.

He believes that the Senior Men's Club has countless individuals doing so many different things and said it was very humbling to be recognized from that group.

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"I think there are so many wonderful men that have made so many contributions to this town that should be recognized," he said. "So, needless to say, I was very honored to be singled out amongst such an extraordinary group of men."

Schlumpf enjoyed a fruitful career in IBM as director of manufacturing planning. He came to New Canaan in 1973, his family's fifth move for IBM. Since then he and his wife, Susie, have raised four children in New Canaan and now have seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He said he did not have a chance to volunteer as much as he would have liked until after retirement.

"Like many, I came to town in the midst of my career when I was working long hours seemingly every day. Along with many others, I lived here, went to work from here but didn't really get to know the community or a lot of people in it. When I retired, I finally had time to work with others here and found I enjoyed it," Schlumpf said. "I would say to men and women in similar situations `Get involved!' Find an organization, introduce yourself, volunteer and get involved. It's rewarding and fun."

His specific volunteer work spans more than two decades with organizations like the police commission, where he was chairman for 10 years and the Poinsettia and Gridiron Clubs of New Canaan.

"As examples of what he has done, Jim was a trustee and later chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Congregational Church. He also gave time to many community projects of the Exchange Club starting in 1986, and was its president in 1990 and 1991," Stein said about Schlumpf's work. "For four years starting in 1987 he served on the New Canaan Commission on Aging and in 1992 joined the board of the New Canaan Inn. In 1994 he began a two-year term as president of that board."

Schlumpf said the thing that appeals to him most about volunteering in New Canaan is the ownership residents take of the town.

"People in New Canaan care about New Canaan and they take it upon themselves to make it a better place. Think about all the things in this town where people have championed ideas and they have fought for those ideas to make it happen. For example, Staying Put in New Canaad and the Lapham Community Center before that. Think about how many people were initially against those initiatives. And now they are the jewels in the crown so to speak," he said fondly. "It's that sort of spirit of making this town the best it can be that appeals to me."

The Senior Men's Club of New Canaan, an organization of about 450 local men, meets at 10 a.m. most Friday mornings at St. Mark's church to socialize and hear notable speakers on matters of special interest. The club is open for new membership applications. Visit www.smcnc.org for more information or call Membership Chairman Jerry Transue at 203-966-6050.