Thursday Sep 29 2011
Community Portrait: Busy gadfly Jimmy Wall makes Auburn a better place
By: Story and photo Michael Kirby
Jimmy Wall, age 58, is officially an Auburn local, born in the old Highlands Hospital and living in the town he loves his entire life. Wall is a man about town, and he walks everywhere. Even in the rain, Wall cruises the streets in his yellow slicker and ever-present baseball cap, a man on a mission. His stomping ground and home turf includes Lower Town, as he calls it, the Auburn Town Center on Elm Avenue, and most parts of Downtown Auburn. For years Wall has helped out at the supermarket in the Auburn Town Center with their shopping carts, retrieving abandoned carts from obscure locations about the parking lot and returning them to the front of the store for customers, always eager to help however he can. Never mind that anybody ever asked him to take on the task. It’s just Jimmy being Jimmy. “I just like to help out when I can,” Wall said. Wall is educationally challenged but communicates well, attending school locally in special education programs at the old Lincoln Way School and E.V. Cain. Wall then finished his education at the Secret Ravine School in Newcastle. Though he did not graduate from Placer High, he is one of the Hillmen’s biggest fans. Wall has been a regular at Placer football, basketball and baseball games for years. He is a Placer High sports expert. Stats, the schedule and his inside scuttlebutt scoop on the predictions of the upcoming seasons are his to share with any willing listener. You can usually find him sitting right in front of the Placer High Pep Band at home basketball games, proudly wearing his Placer High hoodie sweatshirt. Wall is also a big fan of the local sprint car racing circuit. He is an honorary member of Auburn’s Andy Forsberg’s racing team, riding to the nearby races as part of Forsberg’s crew and watching the races from the pits, again helping any way he can. If Wall is not wearing a Placer High shirt, he will usually be sporting a Forsberg Racing T-shirt. Wall drew a paycheck from Pride Industries for 30 years and was a medal-winning participant in the Special Olympics for years. Wall is a big-hearted guy and a kind soul. He always seems content and happy, willing to strike up a conversation or lend a helping hand. Wall’s grade school teacher, Jimmie Schuh, is a neighbor of his and recently suffered a series of strokes. Wall was at her house often, almost daily, checking on her needs and cleaning up her yard, moving out the garbage on the right day. Wall is a tireless promoter of Auburn and its events. He championed the return of Auburn’s Funk Box Derby, after an eight-year hiatus. The event is an Auburn favorite and Wall already has plans to improve next year’s event with more funky cars and entertainment. “We’ve got to get together and have a meeting about next year,” he said. Wall can also be seen visiting downtown businesses handing out flyers for upcoming events. Wall has an opinion on almost everything in Auburn from local politics to city improvements. He knows most of the Auburn Police Department officers by name and he’s a neighborhood historian of facts and events. Recently, Wall was accidentally hit by a car while walking downtown. His shoulder was injured and he is now on the mend though his around-town activities have been curtailed a bit. Auburn is blessed to have a resident like Wall. He is a shining example of good citizenship, and Auburn is a little bit of a better place because Jimmy Wall lives here.