If you ask Jim Dewitt what his profession is, his first and foremost answer is that he is a retired Army officer. But the truth to the matter is that he is a lot more than just that. He is husband of 34 years, father of 2 beautiful girls, grandfather of his precious MollyJames and lastly, the Executive Director of the Springs at Simpsonville.
Jim began working at the age of 13 in Hastings, Nebraska. He was awarded an ROTC scholarship to college, and then served 20 years as a military officer traveling to Germany, Arizona, Indiana, Washington D.C., and Georgia. He served in Desert Storm, and was instrumental in moving the communication equipment of his battalion from Germany to Saudi Arabia. Upon retiring from the military, he served as an ROTC instructor for four years at JL Mann High School. He loved his young ROTC recruits, and he especially enjoyed sponsoring the rifle guard and marching with his troops.
In 1996, Jim entered a Masters program at Clemson and the Medical College of South Carolina. As a part of his training, he served a year as a health administrator intern with Oconee Memorial Hospital. Just weeks after completing his Masters program, he was hired as the Executive Director for the Springs at Simpsonville. He was their first administrator, and he has served in this role for 14 years.
Jim was once described as being a “hands on director” and that could not be more accurate. Jim is not only the Executive Director of the Springs, but he also acts as an Activities Director at times when he drives the residents around on the bus. He also particularly enjoys reading to the resident during book time. He will often come into the Springs on Saturday morning..if he’s in a good part of the book. He will also take the residents to and from doctor’s appointments. One particular story that makes him stand out is that he took one of his 99 year old residents to Myrtle Beach to stay at the resident’s beach house for the weekend. He came back quite upset after learning he chose “Senior Week” to make the trip, not “Senior Citizens week.” Because of Jim, The Springs does not have a high turnover rate within employees. Over half of the employees have been at the Springs for 8 or more years. Unlike some, he is a boss you actually enjoy being around.
Jim has been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and an active Rotary member for over 10 years. He serves as a Surrogate Parent for Greenville County Schools and in this role is the parent in special education meetings for students that do not have a parent. In addition, Jim is a Sunday School Teacher for the Passages class at Advent United Methodist Church. Jim’s favorite hobby is running. He has completed eight marathons, including the Marine Corp Marathon at age 60.
If there is anyone who deserves recognition for his self-less good works, it is Jim Dewitt. He is a giver, and the one word he does not have in his vocabulary is “no”. He is always fitting in one more “thing” and it always seems that the one more “thing” involves helping another. His purpose in life is to serve and put others first and he has managed to successfully live out God’s will for his life.