Jim Lorentz, Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award Recipient August 29 2019
Jim Lorentz, a wheat Ridge police officer, is being honored today is the August 2019 recipient of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award. As a volunteer for the past eight years with the Alzheimer’s Association, Jim teaches first responders, law enforcement officers, and EMTs how to deal effectively with people who suffer from dementia and other forms of Alzheimer’s disease. This training helps officers respond more effectively and appropriately to the increasing number of situations involving persons living with dementia. Jim has provided training to 1400 Denver police officers, as well as deputies in Douglas, Jefferson, Adams, Eagle and Arapahoe County’s and police officers in Wheat Ridge, Englewood, Lakewood, Avon, Eagle, Vail and Gypsum departments.
Jim first became interested in how to effectively deal with people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia with his wife’s mother developed dementia and he and his wife became her caregivers. He attended an Alzheimer’s initiative course in Texas to learn about teaching others and since then, he is instructed over 3000 police officers and first responders and effective practices. An individual with dementia may not react rationally to officers questions, and the right approach is crucial to lessening the anxiety, distress, fear and agitation that the person living with dementia may experience.
In addition to teaching, Jim was also a driving force behind the Colorado life track program, a safety device system designed for persons living with memory issues, to help ensure their safety. Because of his advocacy, Lutheran Hospital agreed to pay for the program, which is free of charge for the residents. He is also an Emeritus Board Member of Family Tree. Family Tree is an organization that deals with those who are homeless including child abuse, and domestic abuse victims. He has worked with them for the past nine years.
Tina Wells, director of regional programs with the Alzheimer’s Association, says in her letter of recommendation, “the community at large, and particularly family caregivers, can be assured and rest easy knowing that someone who is trained about dementia by Jim Lorentz will handle the situation with the utmost respect and dignity for the individual and in a calm manner that will defuse emotions and avoid an unwarranted arrest. The recipient of Jim Lorentz training leaves them well-equipped to handle any emergency situation involving a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia.”
The MYCVA Committee proudly honors Jim Lorentz as our August 2019 recipient for all the ways he makes our community a better place. Jim works not only on behalf of the police force, but for those living with dementia. He is a true servant to our community. Jim is chosen to donate his $2000 award to the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado chapter.
Minuro Yasui and the Community Volunteer Award
Minuro Yasui served as Executive Director of the Denver commission on community relations from 1967 to 1983. Prior to that time, he was a member (beginning in 1959), then vice chairman and for two years chairman of the commission. He dealt with the multitude of organizations, groups and individuals in the Denver area starting in 1943.
During World War II, he was subjected to military orders which forcibly removed 110,000 person of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and incarcerated them in evacuation centers. In testing the constitutionality of such government measures, he spent nine months in jail, so you would know firsthand the never-ending struggles to preserve and protect liberty and freedom of people.
This award was conceived by the commission on community relations in 1975 to recognize and promote volunteerism by honoring an individual each month whose volunteer contributions are constructive, unique and outstanding.
Minuro Yasui died in November 1986 after a brief illness. The Minuro Yasui Community Volunteer Award will continue to be a living tribute to the high principles encourage of an outstanding American and a great man.
Jim was also honored by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock with August 29, 2019 being declared Jim Lorentz day for the State of Colorado.