Volunteer of the Year’s joy spreads throughout Middletown

You may not know his name, but his infectious smile is unforgettable.

And when you see that look on Jimmy Muzquiz’s face — when he flashes his teeth under that bushy mustache — you feel better about yourself and mankind.

As coordinator of the Broad Street Bash, a downtown Middletown musical event, Adriane Scherrer has seen the power of Muzquiz’s presence. Regardless of the circumstances, Muzquiz never changes. He’s unflappable.

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“It doesn’t matter how crazy things are, that person is always smiling,” Scherrer said of Muzquiz. “It doesn’t matter how insane it is, he just lets it roll off and the smiling occurs.”

That smile certainly will be on display next week when Muzquiz receives the Mary Maurer Volunteer of the Year award at the annual Middletown Community Foundation meeting. Muzquiz, 33, of Middletown, volunteers at the Pendleton Art Center, Art Central Foundation, Broad Street Bash, and the YMCAs in Middletown and Hamilton, and anywhere he’s needed.

If you need a volunteer, call 1-800-MUZQUIZ. He’ll probably answer the phone.

When asked why he volunteers, Muzquiz said he enjoys “helping out” the community.

“It makes me feel happy inside,” said Muzquiz, who donated his $500 award to the Art Central Foundation, where he’s on the board.

That happiness is spread to everyone who comes in contact with Muzquiz. He has that impact on people.

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Muzquiz works at the Swim Outlet in Hamilton, a distribution center, and part-time at Brown’s Run Country Club and Wildwood Golf Club. Jordan Lawson, general manager at Wildwood, jokingly refers to Muzquiz as “Mayor of Middletown” because everyone in the city knows him.

At Wildwood, Muzquiz has worked behind the bar and at the club’s Halloween party. He doesn’t care about the job description, as long as he’s wanted.

“You’re not having a special event unless Jimmy is there,” Lawson said with a laugh. “He’s just one of those very social guys who knows no stranger. He has what I call a very fun presence.”

T. Duane Gordon, executive director of the Middletown Community Foundation, said when the Awards Selection Committee was discussing Muzquiz’s nomination, everyone couldn’t help but smile when they said his name because he “spreads joy” wherever he goes.

“Whenever I go downtown to a special event, be it First Friday at the Pendleton or the Arts Festival or something with the Art Central Foundation, the first thing I usually see is that huge smile from Jimmy,” Gordon said. “He’s always so eager to help anyone and so happy to do it that his presence really does add to the enjoyment of the event.”

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At the First Friday events, Muzquiz serves as a greeter at the PAC. He stands at the front door, then periodically visits with Art Central Foundation Director Sue Wittman, whose framing business is located inside the PAC.

“When he’s in here, people are always yelling, ‘Jimmy, Jimmy,’ Wittman said. “Then five minutes later, ‘Jimmy, Jimmy.’”

Since Muzquiz was always around the center, always volunteering, Wittman asked him to join the Art Central Foundation board, she said.

“Jimmy just seems to help everyone,” Wittman said. “He’s such a sweet guy.”

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