JOPLIN, MO.--- The tragedy is being felt not just by friends and family, but by the entire community. Those who knew Jeff Slama remember him most for his big heart. He was very involved in the community, active with both the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Charities. Through volunteering, Jeff left a big impact on those he worked with and those he helped.
"As long as I've known him, anytime there was any type of volunteer work or anything that had to be done, he was definitely right here. Anything," said Greg Emory, Knights of Columbus.
Jeff Slama had been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1985 and was a chairperson for Catholic Charities for the last several years.
"Jeff's part of our family. He's going to be very missed. He was an active, loyal member of the board. His service to Catholic Charities was invaluable," said Andrea Minor, Director of Catholic Charities.
Both organizations exist to serve the community, and those who knew Jeff best say he was always looking for the next opportunity to help those in need.
"Jeff never waited to hear when we needed assistance. He would actually call and ask what we needed help with," said Minor.
Friends describe him as a giving person who was extremely loved and respected.
"Jeff was always one to do things and not want recognition, and I just want everyone to know what a great person he was. What a compassionate person he was, and what a Godly man he was. And he was so well respected in the community and of course within our agency," said Minor.
He was always the first to lend a helping hand.
"Anybody that you would talk to would say Jeff was just a guy you could call on to help out and volunteer. Jeff would be there to do that. So, just a great guy," said Emory.
Slama had two sons and grandchildren. Friends say they're shocked to hear of his passing, they say he will be deeply missed.
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