The day I met Jimmy for the first time, my then fiancé and I were looking for a new home in which to begin that exciting new chapter of our lives: our first year of marriage. Not only was the home we chose a dream home architecturally, but there were also myriad custom touches that Jimmy’s own talented hands made that added so much richness to the living space. One of my favorite sections of this beautiful home was the music room that he had added on, complete with French doors that he built himself. This room was truly a dream come true for me, outfitted with various stringed, wind, and percussion instruments, the pièce de résistance being a baby grand piano.

All this and the room had enough space for me to dance around as I sang to my heart’s content. Outside, my happy place for the three years we lived in that house was the back deck which, as a wedding gift to my husband and me, Jimmy beautified with new fencing, greenery, and latticework with a trellis roof. The beauty of our own decorations for our special day was magnified by the stunning backdrop created for us. These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg in showcasing Jimmy’s building talent; his brilliance for creating is astounding, and everything that encounters his Midas touch is transformed into a work of art beyond what we may originally envision.

In the many opportunities through which I’ve been privileged to get to know Jimmy, I’ve come to learn how such a man as he who started out with above average challenges early in life, yet with unshakable faith in God’s provision, worked harder than most to achieve both worldly success as well as works to glorify our Maker. In rich times as in lean, Jimmy has always been giving–and abundantly, generously so–to all who cross his path. I learned how dedicated he was to taking care of his mother; in turn, he was and continues to be likewise thoughtful of and helpful to my mother. My husband and I were blessed to reside not just as tenants, but welcomed as family to enjoy everything Jimmy owned in his home. When our grandmother needed more care in her later days, Jimmy provided one of his own apartments to her so that she could have a safe place to be cared for. He has one of the biggest, kindest, most selflessly giving hearts I know, and to this day, it inspires me to witness how he continues to bless everyone, especially those who may need a hand up in our underserved communities. In nearly five years that I have known Jimmy, I don’t believe I’ve heard him complain even once, but every word that he utters brings glory to our Father in Heaven! He carries a certain wisdom gained through victory over life’s battles, and a depth of peace and joy that can only come from surrender to Christ, led by the unfailing, perfect wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I will be forever grateful to have Jimmy in my life; it would not be nearly the same without him.