By Alex Paris
“A BIG thanks to you!” read the oversized, signature-packed card handed to San Clemente resident Jim Lusk at a commemoration ceremony on April 20. Lusk was honored for his 30 years of volunteering with the city’s volunteer police services.
As a member of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, known as RSVP, Lusk has assisted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and San Clemente Police Services by performing routine duties such as vacation home monitoring, parking enforcement and weekly checkups on homebound seniors.
Lt. David Moodie and Sgt. Werner Hartman of San Clemente Police Services presented Lusk with a certificate and plaque of appreciation during the RSVP monthly meeting at the Community Center. Lusk, who joined the program in 1986 just months after its inception, recounted his most memorable experience, which occurred during parking enforcement.
“I never had anyone really attack me,” Lusk recalled. “Verbally? All the time. But I never had anybody really try to do damage to me until one day when I was writing citations during street sweeping. I had given a ticket to a fellow in a pickup. As I was walking away, the guy came running out of his house saying, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Writing a citation.’ He picked up a cinder block and threw it at me and it came down and almost got me. So I called for backup as he was coming towards me and within two minutes there were three officer cars and they arrested him.”
Lusk said he originally joined RSVP due to his interesting experience as a reserve for the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, where he had a vacation home. But his volunteering habit started much earlier—he was a crossing guard in fifth grade.
Lusk has thought about resigning a few times, but said, “I just can’t seem to get away from it. It’s something I can do in the community.”
After performing every possible duty in RSVP, Lusk now serves as a trainer for new volunteers. To date, he has volunteered a few thousand hours and has written around 16,000 citations.
RSVP volunteers can be found patrolling various events this summer, here to help locals and visitors alike.