There’s nothing the tall, blue-eyed widower with the peppy voice and up-beat disposition would rather do than serve the Lord by helping others in their time of need.

When it comes to helping and befriending others, Frank Jansky is a natural.

There’s nothing the tall, blue-eyed widower with the peppy voice and up-beat disposition would rather do than serve the Lord by helping others in their time of need.

Frank, who admits he’s “hitting towards 80,” believes in “helping who you can, when you can, as long as you can.”

Once a caretaker, you can’t cut it off, he says, referring to the fact he gave around-the-clock care to his invalid wife, Rosalind Ann, for a “good number of years.”

Following Rosalind’s death in 2002, Frank realized he was “sort of a natural” taking care of his beloved wife, and he wanted to continue doing what came naturally to him – reaching out to others.

Today, Frank’s life revolves around his volunteer work – especially for the Open Door program at Open Spirit United Methodist Church, 7900 Blue Ridge Blvd., Kansas City, where he is an active member.

How valuable is Frank to the success of the  weekly missions  program, which provides hot meals to the “working poor” and their families in the community, including numerous Independence residents?

Let’s ask Donna Kellogg, who co-chairs the three-year-old program with Kathy Manning.

 “Frank essentially holds (the volunteer program) together. We don’t know whether we could do it on a weekly basis without (his services). I truly don’t.”

What makes Frank special, she says, is “He’s the epitome of Open Door. He is what it is.”

But the accolades don’t end here.
“He has a work ethic that is amazing,” Donna says of the “quiet servant” who has embraced the Open Door program since its conception.

Frank, a take-charge guy, is usually the first to arrive at the small church on Open Door Tuesdays, and  last to leave – by choice.  
During the 4 1/2 hours he’s at Open Door, you’ll find him doing what he enjoys the most – “donkey” work. You know, the physical end of the all-volunteer program.

Setting up the tables and taking them down is donkey work, as is setting up chairs and putting them away. So is sweeping the floors and taking out the garbage.

Some may say taking out the trash is a menial task. But not Frank.

“I don’t mind that. It’s not menial to me,” he says. “It has to be done, so you do it.”

Like putting tablecloths on the tables, setting out salt shakers, silverware, napkins and ice, filling water pitchers and lending a helping hand in the kitchen, where Frank is the go-to person.

“When they need something, they ask me,” he says, adding: “I know where all the utensils are and everything else.”

The native New York state resident is no stranger in a kitchen. He’s been cooking most of his life and looks forward to bringing a mouth-watering dessert to each Open Door dinner. Serving time is 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Frank likes diversity. Sometimes he makes banana pudding. Other times he brings a pie or a cake, like the chocolate/peanut butter cake he made last week.
“They loved it. They all wanted to know my secret recipe,” he said with a wide grin. So he shared it: “Take a box of cake mix and a jar of peanut butter and  put it together, he says, explaining chocolate and peanut butter are a natural.

Even though he has numerous health ailments, including the reoccurrence of  prostate cancer, Frank has no intentions of slowing down or cutting back on his many volunteer activities.

Sure, he gets tired. But here’s Frank’s secret: When he’s working, he doesn’t feel tired, although he may come home and relax in his favorite chair. But while he’s helping others, the “energy is flowing.”

As it does every Sunday morning at One Spirit UMC, where Donna says the immaculate-dressed usher is “very much the church.”

As it does on the first Friday of each month when he and other members of VFW Post 8100 visit the Veterans Administration Hospital in Kansas City to play bingo with the patients.
As it does when he daily walks his neighbors’ dogs, takes care of their lawns and supplies them with seeds, plants and hanging baskets.

As it does when he calls members of Living Information For Today, taking reservations for the monthly meeting. LIFT is a support group for widows and widowers. Frank and another woman have run for organization for the past four years.

Donna says she’s never encountered anyone who gives in the way Frank does.
“He gives his energy, his time, his treasury – everything.”

 He’s also everyone’s servant and won’t say no, she continues, noting Frank meets the needs of any person he encounters.

“He doesn’t ask. He sees them and does them.”

Looking ahead, Frank hopes he’ll  be around on Dec. 7, 2011, to celebrate 30,000 days of life.
To the soon-to-be-octogenerian, 30,000 days is a big deal. So big, in fact, he’s marked the momentous date on his kitchen calendar.

“I am looking forward to 30,000 days on this Earth. That’s my goal,” he says confidently.

When his days on Earth are over, Frank hopes he will have left a hole in somebody’s heart. That’s another of his life’s goals.

“They say if you don’t leave a hole in somebody’s heart, you’ve wasted your time here on Earth,” he says, explaining that if someone doesn’t miss you, what is your purpose for being here?”

Frank, rest assured you have already left  holes in the hearts of all those you have befriended in your lifetime. Those recipients will remember your kindness forever.