OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council recognized Vietnam veteran Jim Jones as veteran of the year on Nov. 4.
“Veterans do a lot of good work and a lot of volunteering,” Councilman and Air Force veteran Jerry Kern said. “It’s the least we can do.”
Sandra Fichter, Veteran Association of North County vice president and past award winner, said the timing of the award allows the Oceanside recipient to be considered for the San Diego County veteran of the year, and be part of the San Diego Veteran’s Day parade.
The award recognizes veterans’ civic contributions.
Jones is not short on ways he helps others. He has served as commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Post 10577 for seven years, and led the post to receive two all state awards.
“He’s always been really active, and has always been helping veterans in North County,” Kern said.
Through his tenure as post commander Jones has successfully recruited new members, and allowed them the opportunity to connect with fellow veterans, needed resources and services.
He works with high school students through the VFW Voice of Democracy to provide teens with a platform to write and speak up for democracy.
Jones is also a 15-year member of the Kiwanis. He has worked to support the Eliminate Project Milestone House which serves young women, Ivey Ranch Park Respite Center serving disabled children, and Ocean Shores High School which serves at risk youth.
He created a new Kiwanis charter to provide more service to the community.
Additionally Jones helped start the library Computer Club to keep kids off the streets, and taught adults and elderly how to use library computers.
Supporting The Enlisted Project, or STEP, was recognized by the City Council as the veteran nonprofit of the year the same night.
The nonprofit provides emergency financial assistance, and financial training to military. Services help those who are sorely in need and about to have utilities shut off or other final bill collecting action taken.
“It really affects military families’ junior rank,” Fichter said. “They live on such a tight budget. If there are emergencies it helps them through it. It teaches them budgeting and how to handle money.”
Fichter said the education component helps teach military better financial practices, and guides them to create their own financial safety net.
“It gets their focus back on the mission and work,” Fichter said. “They know their family is OK.”
The STEP program has assisted 900 military families with a 92 percent success rate, 180 of those families reside in Oceanside.