He’s the “go-to” guy in his seniors housing complex and has been helping people on low incomes out of the goodness of his heart for more than 25 years.
While many of us sweat and curse over our annual tax returns and the insane level of detail and cross-referencing, 91-year-old Jerry Starck positively thrives on filling out other people’s tax forms for free.
And if he’s not volunteering his services at tax time for Revenue Canada’s list of people needing support, he’s turning his hand and mind to complicated and convoluted medical or income support forms on behalf of his fellow residents at the Ivan Franko seniors facility near Francis Road and Railway Avenue.
Last week, the retired accountant received a certificate from Revenue Canada, thanking him personally for a quarter century of volunteering.
Starck, however — whose mother and father lived to 103 and 101 respectively — has no intention of letting the ink run dry on his pen just yet.
“I’m still in great health, touch wood, even though I’ve had two bouts of cancer,” said a sprightly Starck, who thinks he’s been filling in people’s tax forms since he was around 30.
“And as long as I’m healthy, I will keep trying to help people. I get a kick out of helping people.
“My mother and father lived long, so there may be more years in me yet; it must be good genes.”
Starck puts his sharp mind down to 50 years of golfing and going for a walk every day.
Before he retired at 65, Starck used to have his own business and also worked for an oil company in Edmonton before moving to Richmond in 1993.
And in all his years of filling in the dreaded forms, he’s seen many changes in the system, including the leap into the age of the computer.
“At 65, I decided to slow down a little and joined the tax department,” he said.
“But I’ve seen quite a few changes. The advent of computers certainly made a difference.
“I think it probably made it easier as it works out everything for you. Although I had to take several courses to be able to handle it.”
Starck said residents in his 42-suite complex often offer him money for his charity, but he always flatly refuses the gesture.
“I volunteer for this and, although I’ve been offered money, I never take it,” he said.
“I don’t do it for that. I’m just glad to help people out.”