NC Baptists give Heritage Award to Jim Jacumin of Connelly Springs

by Mike Creswell
  • Jim Jacumin was awarded the 2014 Heritage Award by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 6 yrs old

Jim Jacumin, a Baptist layman from Connelly Springs, has received the 2014 Heritage Award from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in recognition of his contributions to North Carolina Baptist life.

Milton A. Hollifield Jr., the convention's executive director-treasurer, presented the award to Jacumin during the 14th Annual Baptist Heritage Award luncheon Tuesday, April 8, at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center in Greensboro.

Eleven other Baptist organizations also presented Heritage Awards, considered one of the greatest honors given in North Carolina Baptist life. The event is sponsored each year by the Baptist State Convention and the NC Baptist Foundation.

In presenting the award from the Baptist State Convention, Hollifield described Jacumin as a successful engineer and businessman. "I believe that Jim Jacumin has followed Christian principles for many years in service of helping others," he said.

Jacumin, a native of Burke County, served as deacon, Sunday School superintendent and outreach leader at First Baptist Church in Icard, where he was a member for many years. He is now a member of East Valdese Baptist Church, Valdese.

He has served as a member of the convention's Board of Directors; as a trustee of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest; as a trustee of Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs; and as a trustee of Valdese General Hospital in Valdese.

Jacumin and his wife, Nancy, recently funded construction of the Jim and Nancy Jacumin Retreat Lodge at the convention's Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro, which will be completed this spring.

"It's a special place for us," Jacumin said of Caraway, because that's where their son, Marty, came to faith in Christ. Marty is now pastor of Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh and active in Baptist State Convention life. The Jacumins also have a daughter, Mitzi Lane, who lives in Hickory, and four grandchildren.

Earlier a gift from the Jacumins enabled construction of the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center on the campus of Southeastern, named in honor of Jim and Nancy's parents.

Jacumin has been active in the Bible distribution ministry of the Gideons for 35 years. Though he is a long-time Baptist, Jacumin's grandfather was a member of the Waldensians, a Christian church based in Italy and France. Waldensians fought for centuries to have freedom of conscience in their faith and helped pave the way for the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

To honor that heritage, Jacumin founded and serves as president of the Waldensian Trail of Faith, an exhibit in Valdese which tells the history of that early church group through buildings and displays. Waldensians established the town of Valdese in 1893.

Jacumin has volunteered his engineering skills in the design and construction of numerous Burke County community facilities, including East Burke High School's football stadium, the Hildebran-Icard Community Center and the East Burke Community Hall, along with ball fields, parks and playgrounds.

"When I look back at my life, those who come after me, I would hope they'd be able to look back and find me faithful to my Lord, to my family, to my country, to my state, to my community. I've always tried to help when there were needs in any of those areas. I've always tried to step up," he said.

Jacumin's extensive career in public service includes three terms as North Carolina state senator representing District 44, from 2004 through 2010. He also served two terms as county commissioner. He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest non-military award, in recognition of his community service.

Jacumin graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in nuclear engineering. He first worked for Douglas Aircraft Company, where he worked as a missile design engineer, helped develop an anti-tank weapon and did research on the Lunar Landing Vehicle.

In 1965 he founded JEMCO, Jacumin Engineering and Machine Company with his brother and two other partners but eventually bought out the other partners. He was awarded patents on five of his textile and furniture machines and for 31 years sold equipment around the world from a small factory in Icard.

When he sold the company 18 years ago, two-thirds of all the T-shirts made in America were bleached and washed in JEMCO equipment.