Select Company -- Jim Jordan's accomplishments are acknowledged at a special dinner at TMNA's headquarters in Plano. The TMMK manager was just one of seven team members globally who were honored for fostering Toyota unity, promoting sports/competition, or acting as unsung heroes through community volunteerism.
Jim Jordan grew up playing outside with neighborhood kids, but the boy next door often couldn’t master the games he and his friends considered a natural part of growing up.
The boy’s name was David; he had Down Syndrome.
“I’d be out playing and he would be outside, but couldn’t do a lot of the activities that the rest of us kids were doing,” Jordan recalls. “I always had this desire to keep him involved and make him feel the same so I would do things with him to give him a feeling of inclusion. I probably didn’t even really understand what I was doing at the time.”
Jordan says that day-to-day childhood experience resonated with him when the opportunity to volunteer with the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League came up more than a decade ago.
He was recently honored with the Toyota President’s Award for 2017 for volunteer work with the nonprofit. Jordan was one of seven President’s Award recipients around the globe. The President’s Award recognizes team members, or teams, who foster Toyota unity, promote sports/competition, or act as unsung heroes through community volunteerism.
Volunteer Extraordinaire -- Jim Jordan fires up the grill to cook for Miracle League participants and their families.
Discovering the Miracle League
Jordan, body operations Lexus manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), got connected with the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League, founded in 2006, not long after the nonprofit got up and running. His connection came via a suggestion from the plant’s external affairs department when he stopped in to seek community outreach opportunities.
In his first year with the league, Jordan was selected to serve as Toyota’s representative on the nonprofit’s board. The Toyota Blue Grass Miracle League, located in Lexington, Kentucky, provides a six- to eight-week baseball league in the fall and spring for kids and adults with special needs. Participants with a wide range of needs, including children and adults in wheelchairs, play ball on an accessible, soft-surface field. Toyota, the YMCA, the Lexington Rotary Club and BB&T were the league’s founding members.
Shortly after joining the board, Jordan says he volunteered at his first Miracle League baseball game.
“It only took a couple of times of volunteering at games for it to touch my heart and know it was a much-needed organization. The Miracle League is special to me for the inclusion and for the happiness that it brings to the kids,” Jordan says. Equally important is the support the league provides to parents, he says, some of whom rarely get a break from 24/7 care. The Miracle League gives them time to enjoy their children being children.
Equal Access -- Children and adults with any kind of disability can play in the Miracle League with "buddy" support.
Spreading the word
As he saw the positive impacts, Jordan promoted the Miracle League as a volunteer opportunity at TMMK by reaching out to diversity teams. As a result, the majority of the weekends during league season are sponsored by a Toyota team or section.
Jordan, for his part, began his second year as the Miracle League’s board president in 2018.
Kevin Haury, associate executive at the High Street YMCA and director of the Miracle League, says Jordan’s commitment and passion have been invaluable.
“The board was still very much a fledgling, young board when Jim joined,” Haury says. “What Jim has done is put processes in place to set us up for the future. He helped get us on an action-oriented agenda, created processes and committees and got committees and board members engaged,” Haury says. “I know he borrowed a lot of that knowledge of processes from Toyota.”
For his part, Jordan says he’s honored to receive the President’s Award for the North America region.
“It’s not why I do what I do, but it is humbling, and I’m grateful,” Jordan says. “More than anything, I’m very appreciative that our company not only monetarily supports the community but also provides time for members to be involved with nonprofits.”
By Kerry Curry