Transforming Lives One Mile at a Time
Jim and Char Mansfield have built a legacy powered by their passion for empowering others over their beautiful 59-year marriage. This guiding sense of purpose led them from impactful positions inspiring students achieve their dreams, to volunteer with Vitalant, formerly Inland Northwest Blood Center, leading to a nearly 20-year-long commitment transforming lives through blood donation.
Jim and Char met during their time at Marquette University. Jim beams as he tells the story of how he swam up to a beautiful lifeguard’s boat only to have her brush him off at first. Thankfully, she reconsidered. They were married on August 20, 1959 and had four children who have since blessed them with seven grandchildren.
The Mansfields began their careers as teachers before they were recruited in 1964 to work as residence hall directors in Michigan. Jim was later approached by the University of Detroit to become head of admissions. In 1969, he was offered a position as Dean of Admissions at Gonzaga University – a role in which he served for 18 years. Their careers then took them to Fairbanks, Alaska and to Wyoming. After five years in Wyoming and more than 35 years guiding people make important decisions on their life, Jim decided to retire… but not to a life of leisure.
After retirement, Jim chose to dedicate his time benefitting others with no expectation of anything in return. While he remains humble, his contributions are awe-inspiring. His service with Vitalant alone spans 20 years; 12 of those years were as a blood drive coordinator at St. Peter’s Parish for 12 years, during which their donors gave enough units to save up to 4,000 lives.
Jim’s investment with Vitalant also includes being a volunteer courier, logging more than 175,000 miles. Along the way to that milestone, he was named Blood Drive Coordinator of the Year in 2011, Courier of the Year in 2017, and received this region’s highest honor, the Jean Merrill Excellence in Service Award in 2015.
Over the course of his volunteer work, Jim often reflected about the products he was transporting to and from hospitals, and the patients they could be impacting. He knew each unit’s potential and thought about the likelihood of him knowing the person that unit may be saving.
One day, the cause for which Jim invests his time became even more personal. In 2014, Char went from being a blood donor to being a recipient. Char had an aortic valve replacement and ended up requiring three units. Then in 2017, she suffered a massive brain bleed and again required blood to survive her emergency brain surgery. Jim couldn’t help but reflect the importance of each unit he transports and the life-transforming power each unit holds.
As we celebrate the thousands of lives impacted by blood donation each year, our Epicurean Delight Planning Committee is honored to welcome Jim and Char Mansfield as our very deserving honorary co-chairs for Epicurean Delight 2018. We thank them for their passion for our mission and their tireless commitment to ensuring no patient goes without.