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DIA Volunteers
DIA Volunteers

Volunteer Award Winner:
James Prest

Staff Aides - January 2006

Staff Aides Volunteer of the Year for January 2006 is James Prest.  Prest has been volunteering in the Audio Visual department since March 2003.  Jim’s placement in the Audio Visual department was a perfect fit because of his technical expertise.  He attended the Electronics Institute of Technology and worked at WJBK-TV for 36 years, where he did most of the technical jobs at the station, primarily maintenance and installation work.  Electronics and technology have been his main interests most of his life.

Jim is married to Maureen C. Prest, BSN, RN, CRNH who works at Hospice of Michigan.  They reside in Farmington Hills and have a daughter, Margaret Louise Prest, age 22, a recent graduate of U of M.  He is active in his community and has helped with communications on the Farmington Hills Police 10K Run, Farmington Founders Parade, and other civic projects.  During February, March, and April he volunteers two or three days a week for the AARP Tax Aide group in Southfield doing computer work and free tax returns for low-income people in the area.

After he retired in 2002, he had way too much time on his hands and needed to do something for the good of his community.  He knew Hal Miller, another Staff Aide volunteer, and asked him if there was any way he could put his technical talents to good use.  Hal put him in touch with Phil Burke and Rudy Lauerman in the DIA’s Audio Visual department, and that’s how it all began.

During the past couple of years, he has had some memorable moments.  He really enjoyed working with a lecturer from College for Creative Studies on a few occasions; during the Daimler Chrysler sponsored exhibit On the Edge, and a Friends of Art and Flowers arrangement presentation a few months ago.  According to Prest, the best thing about being a volunteer is the feeling that you get helping finish projects that otherwise would never be tackled.  He boasted, “It’s great that the time is flexible and I’ve made some great new friends, too!”

Since his wife continued to work after his retirement, they often share a ride while she works nearby and he easily spends a day at the museum. Last year Jim logged in 330 volunteer hours. In fact, it was Prest to the rescue last April during a Leadership Detroit Luncheon.  He was able to switch around equipment from Café DIA to the Lecture Hall in less than 15 minutes. 

Staff Aides wish to congratulate and thank Prest for all his efforts at the DIA.

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