Chris Noble, community engagement manager of Seniors in Service in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties recently named Kim Kordalski recipient of Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Noble presented the award to Kordalski at a recent dinner honoring volunteers throughout the community.
In announcing this award, Nobel said that Kim dedicates her time every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday to organize and distribute food to those in need.
“Kim has been working here since 2020, soon after she moved to Florida from Arizona,” added Tom Bullaro, who serves as director of Our Lady’s Pantry. “She works whenever we need her, even well beyond her usual schedule. Her contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of many.”
In addition to her work at the Pantry site in Wimauma, Kim also serves as Ambassador to Seniors in Service on behalf of Our Lady’s Pantry, attending various events, recruiting volunteers, and helping to spread awareness about the work of the food pantry.
She is also working with Noble in other community projects. Among the community projects she has enjoyed was helping with a fundraising Bingo at Sun Towers retirement community to benefit Moffitt Cancer Center, soon to move nearby.
According to Bullaro, Kordalski is also a member of Operations Veterans Connect (OVC), a program under the umbrella of Seniors in Service, where she provides invaluable support to veterans in need. The mission of OVC is to connect veterans, active militaries, and their families to community resources. In particular, she works with OVC members Michelle King and Scott Harvey each Saturday providing food and beverages to homeless veterans in New Beginnings, in Tampa.
“We are incredibly grateful to have Kim as part of our team,” says Bullaro. “Her dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to serving the community are remarkable.”
“On behalf of Seniors in Service, we extend our thanks to Kim for all her hard work and being an inspiration to us all,” says Noble.
“Congratulations,” he added. “You deserve this honor.”
Kordalski was stunned, not just by the award, but by the journey that brought her to Our Lady’s Pantry in the first place.
Kordalski’s journey actually began in Maine, where she had been living with her husband Paul, her son Zak, then 34, living nearby. She had been born and raised in Maine, but while she had lived elsewhere over the years, she and Paul had been rooted in Auburn, Maine for 22 years, before he died.
When Paul passed in 2016, however, the pain of losing him was so raw, and her grieving so debilitating, that she could barely function. She knew she had to leave Maine with its many memories behind to survive.
In September 2016, Kordalski’s employer of 22 years unexpectedly offered her the opportunity to open a branch office in Phoenix. She eagerly said “yes!” and off she went.
“I loved Phoenix,” she says. “I had a great job and I made so many good friends, who grew to be like family. I had no intention of moving anywhere.
In January 2019, the location got even better when Zak followed his mom to Phoenix.
“Zak and I like living close to one another, so we can see each other frequently,” she says.
That June, however, everything changed.
“I was driving home from work when I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that God wanted me to move to Florida.”
Denying, at first, that this thought could possibly be coming from God, she thought how much she loved where she was. ‘No way,’ she thought to herself. ‘I love it here. I’m not moving.’
“But then, the thought came again — and more powerful this time.
“And I just knew.
“I had to go.”
Kordalski remembers how shocking the experience in the car had been for her. She realizes that her face must have looked different when she walked through the front door that night, because Zak was immediately alarmed.
“What happened, Mom?” he asked.
“We’re moving to Florida,” she said.
She told him her story.
And just like that, they started packing. Kordalski put her house on the market, gave her notice and worked a few more weeks.
In July 2019, four weeks to the day of the incident in the car, Kordalski and Zak moved to Florida.
“I had visited Florida from the time I was a child, but I had never wanted to live there,” she says. “But now, we headed toward Sun City Center, because my mom lived there. I intentionally bought a home within a couple of miles from mom, and Zak moved a little further to Tampa.”
Once settled in her new home, Kordalski, who had not retired, began looking for a job. With her technical background with computers, she expected to find a position quickly. Before that happened, however, she picked up the Sun City Center Observer one day, and started reading.
She noticed one of our stories: “Volunteers needed at Our Lady’s Pantry.”
“It was like God was guiding my way again, just like before,” she says.
“I knew that this was my next move.
“And so, in March 2020, I retired. And here I am, dedicating all my time to Our Lady’s Pantry and Seniors in Service.
“Staying faithful is becoming a journey.”
For more information about Seniors in Service, please visit: https://seniorsinservice.org/