Jim Mease was born and raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and is the eldest of six with four brothers, and one sister. He has two children, Andrew (wife Stephanie) and Amanda (husband Eric), and four grandchildren, Carson, Melody, Riley, and Harper. Jim graduated from Lebanon High School in 1968, and upon graduation enlisted in the U.S. Army. After completing his tour of duty he returned home to Lebanon and began working for the Army as a Department of Army civilian in the Finance and Accounting division located at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. From there, Jim transferred to the United States Army Finance and Accounting Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. His final position was in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller in Washington, DC, retiring in 2012. While working for the government, Jim received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Strayer University in Washington, DC.
During his tenure with the Finance and Accounting divisions in the government, Jim worked on many different financial management projects from creating Defense Agencies and new Army commands to developing and deploying payroll and accounting systems. He spent two plus years detailed from ASA(FM&C) to the Army Central Command (ARCENT) with duty in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He, along with others from his department lived in PODS in the desert and assisted the Department in automating many of the financial processes being performed in the Theater.
Jim and his husband Philip have been together for 32 years, and were married February 5, 2014. They met at the Talbot Street nightclub in Indianapolis on Presidents’ Day weekend in 1985.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
I began volunteering to help with Sundance 2014 and have been returning each year since to help with both the Sundance Auction and Dance on Labor Day weekend. I enjoy helping to transform the space into a magical place for all to enjoy the auction, dance, food, and drink as another summer season comes to a close.
What events/activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
I have been involved with the Sundance Auction and Dance, the Block Party, and several mailings.
What’s your best memory volunteering with CAMP Rehoboth?
My best memory is the positive “can do” attitude of all of the volunteers, and getting to meet different people as we go about setting things up for the different venues. Also, it is interesting to see all of the different items that are presented during the auction each year.
What’s your favorite CAMP event?
I like the Sundance Auction when you get a chance to spend time with people you don’t always see, while viewing all of the different items that the community generously donates in support of CAMP Rehoboth and the many programs made available through the year. I particularly enjoy bidding on the many different items and seeing if I “won” the bid at the close of the auction.
Favorite season at the beach and why?
My favorite season is summer. I love the heat and humidity and all the excitement of thousands of people descending on the shore to soak up some sun and enjoy the nightlife.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up.
My parents and grandparents had a great deal of influence on me as I grew up. They were always positive, and almost always very supportive in everything that I wanted to do.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
I would spend an extra hour a day jogging or biking in and around Rehoboth and DC.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
I enjoy the East coast and the easy accessibility to the many different cultures and venues within a few hours’ drive from Rehoboth—from biking paths, to museums, monuments, all kinds of festivals, and other celebrations. I especially enjoy going to numerous events in DC and Philadelphia throughout the year—marches, festivals, parades and celebrations of all kinds.
Night owl or early riser and why?
I like to get up early and start my day with a cup of coffee while reading the paper or whatever book I am into at the moment. I also like to work in our garden, yard, and pool—weather permitting.
Best year of your life and why?
That would be 1985, the year I met Philip and we fell in love and became committed to each other.
Favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday has always been Christmas. I enjoy shopping for gifts and seeing what kind of decorations we can create for the holiday season. I also enjoy all of the festivities that go along with the holiday season.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime? Why or why not?
I did expect to see it in my lifetime. I have always felt the more aware society is of all of the diversity in it the more accepted equality would become. There is however, always some in the community that want to impede progress and we just have to stay strong, alert, and persistent in our beliefs that there is room for everyone at the table. There are particularly challenging times ahead given the divisiveness we currently see around the globe and in our own country.
How long have you been coming to Rehoboth?
I have been coming to Rehoboth since the mid-sixties. I have seen many changes and still remember getting up early to get a head start on beating the traffic to get here. Before Route One was filled with outlets, there were lots of farms growing crops such as corn, and raising chickens all through Sussex County, including the beach towns.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen.
I think the biggest change I have seen is Rehoboth going from a sleepy little town before Memorial Day and after Labor Day to what it is now with activities happening all year round. Also, all of the changes to downtown Rehoboth from the circle to the improved street scape of Rehoboth Avenue, the arrival of the Blue Moon and the creation of CAMP Rehoboth which has greatly enhanced life in Rehoboth for the LGBT community over the years.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Three events that have shaped my life are the birth of my children, Andrew and Amanda and helping them to grow into the responsible adults they are today with all of the joy and associated challenges that brings; meeting and marrying Philip, which has provided a foundation which allows us to build our life together while enjoying each other and our own unique goals. This has allowed us to make and enjoy many friends who have enriched our lives beyond anything we could have imagined. Finally, Quincy our cat who has to constantly train us, and the birth of our grandchildren who will keep us young and active for years to come.
What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for the good health and happiness enjoyed by our family and friends as we continue to stay young in spirit on life’s journey, and our ability to enjoy each day with all of its challenges and rewards.
Jim, we are happy that you and Philip decided to make Rehoboth your home. We are very appreciative of the time you spend volunteering for CAMP Rehoboth.