By Eli Francovich
Jim Mansfield is addicted to service. Whether it was helping thousands of students engage with Gonzaga through his work in the Admission Office, or now driving a van all over Washington and Idaho delivering blood, Mansfield is all in.
“I think the stories that have been most important to me have been the life-saving ones,” he said. From 1969 to 1987 Mansfield was the dean of admission at Gonzaga. During his tenure he admitted Julie and Thayne McCulloh, as well as Father Robert Spitzer, S.J.
“I really cared a lot about the students,” he said. “It was an incredibly rewarding job.” After leaving Gonzaga he worked at two other universities until his retirement in 1999.
But Mansfield was far from done. Less than six months after retiring (and returning to Spokane), he started volunteering for the Inland Northwest Blood Center. Since then he’s driven more than 90,000 miles as a volunteer courier distributing blood all over the region. Mostly he drives to smaller towns that have blood they can’t use in time. He’ll then redistribute that blood to larger area hospitals, where it’s used within hours. Over the years he’s gotten to know the communities he visits, and they know him.
“I leave for two months in the winter and when I come back they’re waiting for me,” he said. “I love them and they love me.” This year in recognition of his dedication the Inland Northwest Blood Center honored Mansfield by placing his larger-than-life photo on one of their bloodmobiles.
“I had such an opportunity to help people that wanted to improve their lives as dean of admission,” he said. “Now here I am in a position working with people that want to help other people improve their lives. It’s really all tied together.”