Most Impactful Board Member

Utilizing the building blocks of life.

Jim Wisch has spent a lifetime building things. An engineer by trade, he spent more than 40 years as owner and president of Wisch & Vaughn Construction Company, working on construction projects in his community. While some people slow down in retirement, Wisch has continued to serve by doing what he does best — building things.

 Wisch has spent the past 11 years as a board member for the Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri. CCCNMO is the social services arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City and assists with immediate needs for the poor and vulnerable in 38 counties. Each of the board members is appointed by the bishop of the diocese. It has been a rewarding experience to serve in this capacity over the last decade.

 “It is a good group of people trying to help other people,” Wisch reflects.

 Wisch’s work on the CCCNMO board has intersected in the past year with his decades of construction experience. The diocese, along with the help of the St. Mary’s Foundation, bought the Shikles Recreation Center, located at 1200 Linden Dr. in Jefferson City, to renovate the building into a permanent location for a food bank. This project includes a complete renovation of the building, plus adding on a considerable addition for cold-food storage. This new food bank will have extended hours and a grocery-shopping experience, as well private medical exam rooms and a counseling session space.

 This new facility will also rely on strong community partnerships from across all denominations and organizations, including the Food Bank of Central & Northeast Missouri, in Columbia, and local medical volunteers. When schools reopen in a post-pandemic world, CCCNMO is also hoping to provide mentoring and academic support after school — they’re having initial conversations with Helias Catholic High School and First Baptist Church Jefferson City about mentoring assistance.

 While it’s a huge project, Wisch is thankful to have been asked to be the lead and see it through every step, including successful completion by the end of 2021.

 “I was the only one on the CCCNMO board with construction experience to help get this project rolling,” Wisch says. “The good Lord has always been generous to me, so anything I can give back is a thank you to all.”

“The good Lord has always been generous to me, so anything I can give back is a thank you to all.”

Jim Wisch

 Although the Food Bank is the largest project by far, Wish is working on multiple projects. He spent much of 2020 donating his time and skills to building new Habitat for Humanity houses along Jackson Street for those who lost everything in the tornado. He was the lead, alongside Jude Markway, on the house at the corner of Jackson and Ashley streets, which was dedicated on December 5 with the keys turned over to the new homeowner. 

While Wisch has served on numerous boards and organizations during his 40-year career, his work in retirement has been a particularly rich and rewarding experience. He hopes it also inspires others to give back to those most in need.

 “Hopefully, we lead by example in the work we do and encourage people to do the same,” Wisch says. “I have a lot of high hopes for the future to continue these good works for our community.”

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