Jim Milne: from volunteer to Community Cycling Center mechanic
By Britt Appleton, Social Media Specialist
Jim Milne began volunteering with the Community Cycling Center in February of 2011. He quickly racked up over 400 volunteer hours, participating in everything from Salvage Sundays to the Holiday Bike Drive and the Guest Mechanic program. “Jim has a fair amount of knowledge about a lot of things,” Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Randi Orth, said. “He’s really generous with that knowledge and his time.”
What’s great about Jim Milne’s story is that he was able to use our volunteer program to implement the changes he wanted in his own life. A few years ago, when his family’s tow truck business needed to cut expenses, Jim saw that his mother and uncle were about to lose their jobs, so he volunteered to be laid off. Suddenly unemployed, he decided to try and fulfill his dream of being a bike mechanic.
“I started volunteering because I had three main goals in my life: get a new career, get healthy, and move out of the sticks and into Portland,” Jim said. As Jim grew as a mechanic, he was able to take on more responsibilities as a volunteer in our Guest Mechanic Program, while building up bikes for Create a Commuter participants. Then, when a seasonal bike mechanic position opened up in our bike shop in June, he applied and had acquired the skills and talent necessary for becoming a mechanic in our shop.
Jim is the fourth Community Cycling Center mechanic to start as a volunteer. For him, the difference is in the variety of the work. “It’s a lot of the same sorts of things [as being a volunteer], but way more in depth,” Jim said. “Today I built a wheel and then worked on a recumbent bike.”
Jim is really happy about the change. “I always liked working with my hands,” he said. “But I didn’t have a lot of mechanical confidence growing up. It’s really cool to be able to grab something that isn’t working and fix it.”
Read more about Jim in his volunteer spotlight from November 2011.