Monday, June 6, 2016

HONORING A FALLEN HERO

Following is my column, published in the Republican Herald newspaper today.

Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who have paid the ultimate price in order for all of us to enjoy our freedom, has just passed.

All who have served, particularly those who have given their lives for their country, deserve our thanks and respect.

Dating back to the Civil War, Schuylkill County has had its share of heroes who have selflessly devoted themselves to the cause of freedom.

Last year on June 2, we lost the bravest of the brave, Army Captain Jason B. Jones, 29, of Orwigsburg. He gave his life for his country, but a life that was filled with joy and giving continues through the efforts of his family and friends as they “pay forward” in a manner in which Jason would have been proud.

I have had the honor of knowing three generations of the Jones family, particularly Jason’s parents, Jay and Suzy. Jason was an A-student in my eighth-grade social studies class at Blue Mountain Middle School. He was an extraordinary athlete who eventually went on to become Blue Mountain’s scholar-athlete in 2003, and a young man who entered my class each day with a smile and a positive attitude.

Jason’s legacy lives on through many community projects. This coming weekend, anyone who wants to continue Captain Jones’ spirit of good works can do so by taking part in a race that truly benefits the local community.

The second annual Flag Day 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run, sponsored by the Blue Mountain Eagle Foundation, will be held Sunday, June 12, at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

The race will start and finish at the Orwigsburg Memorial building. This is a wheel-measured 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk through Albright’s Woods and the walking paths around Blue Mountain Middle and Elementary schools. The course is mostly flat and shaded, with one hill. The 1-mile Fun Run will be held on Grove Street, starting and ending at the Memorial building.

All Flag Day 5K participants may choose to donate a portion of their entry fee to one of these Eagle Foundation Scholarships: The Captain Jason Jones Memorial Scholarship or the Leslie J. Schoffstall Memorial Scholarship.

Schoffstall was a 1979 Blue Mountain graduate and Blue Mountain Sports Hall of Fame member for her track accomplishments. Leslie served many years as a coach for the Blue Mountain track teams. She passed away earlier this year.

Awards are plentiful for participants in this event. In the 5K Run, prizes will be given to the top overall male and female and the top three males and females in each age group: 14& Under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & Over.

In the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, awards will be presented to the top overall male and female, with ribbons for all participants.

More information can be found on the race’s Facebook page: Blue Mountain Eagle Foundation Flag Day 5K. Online registration can be conducted at:
www.pretzelcitysports.com.

This is a terrific event, benefitting a great cause, in honor of a true local hero.

                                                                 Captain Jason Jones