A Saint Paul native, now in his late 50s, Keith has watched as time transformed the city. When asked about his own neighborhood, this reserved but friendly man describes a sense of connection to community. He comments that a lot of new people are moving in, but everyone seems to do their share—going to work, doing errands, taking care of their kids, and getting along.

For Keith, everyone doing their part is what makes our community.

The neighborhood I grew up in—Midway—you can see the changes. More businesses, more apartments, parks. I think they did a wonderful job in creating the way the neighborhood will look in the future.

On the day we spoke, a community leader had just been murdered in North Minneapolis—a huge blow to the Twin Cities African American community. Keith was clearly shaken by the news. He didn’t know the young man personally, but was very familiar with his work as a mentor. Keith commented how it was a a shame, how he was a good advocate in the neighborhood helping kids, and he took his hat off to him.

As a teen, Keith played baseball and basketball with local boys clubs like the Highland Groveland Rec. After graduating from Central High, he went into the Marines, though he was later given a medical discharge. He spends his semi-retirement working half days at FedEx as a truck off loader.

I had a lot of driving jobs back in the day. I started as a school bus driver and then moved up from there. I know I don’t have too many years ahead of me, but they do say to work as long as you can.

He’s glad to stay active with a physically demanding job and plans to keep going as long as he can stay healthy.

Like many seniors who supplement their fixed income with part-time work, Keith’s financial situation is manageable but tight. Budgeting and savings are a long-established routine. Saving is a lifelong habit he’s proud to have built.

It’s hard, but I’m doing it. I have direct deposit, so I put my earnings directly into my savings account, and then divide it in half. Half goes right into checking for bills.

Like a lot of people, who might not have the resources to push back, he’s had problems with companies that prey on people of modest means. Keith ran into problems with a warranty on his used car.

They are not living up to their end of the deal. My car is sitting at the transmission shop for almost a year. They claim that they sent their people over to inspect it at the shop, but that’s just not true. They didn’t send anyone. Now they are saying it is a pre-existing condition and they won’t cover it.

He’s advocating for himself and others in his community in the same situation by suing the company.

It’s deep. And I’m not the only one that’s dealing with this.

Thankfully, having a car out of commission for a year isn’t a devastating blow, like it could be for some working families. When Keith started having transmission problems, and then the warranty wouldn’t cover the problem, he had to get another car. He comments it’s causation upon causation. Money is tight, he’s not making a whole lot of it he says, but he’s doing the best he can in the situation.

Our conversation ends as it began, with Keith considering the community as a whole. The contribution from tax prep volunteers makes a big difference to Keith and the broader community. He says he enjoys the friendly vibe when he comes in to tax clinics and it’s a welcoming place.

You guys work hard at it. I like the volunteers. It means a great deal because some people can’t get around or can’t afford to pay to have it done. We all need help.

He really values having a way to get advice he can trust from experts that don’t have a profit motive.

I remember when I was an over the road truck driver–I had no idea! When it came time to pay taxes it was a big, major deal. You have to keep track of mileage and gas and expenses–what are my chances of being able to afford another preparer who can deal with that? They say, ‘Your fee is going to be $300.’ I’m like, hold on that’s kinda steep!

Keith thinks it is important to look beyond your own personal situation and take care of your community.

I mean, what about the people who can’t afford it or can’t do it themselves? Where would they go? If they don’t enough money, or if they don’t have agencies to support and help them? The way you guys do it, showing people these other services, is really helpful.

This tax season at Prepare + Prosper, 515 volunteers helped 10,345 people, preparing 21,960 tax returns, returning $20.9 million in refunds. 1,290 people saved a collective $1.9 million.