October 1, 2016
Dear Western Conference VFW Auxiliary Members:
I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I just finished up as the 2015-2016 Department of Idaho President and was awarded the Outstanding Department President for Membership Group 1, and also the 101%+ Membership Medallion. In addition, I serve as the National Certified Recruiter Trainer for the Department of Idaho and am the Department of Idaho Legislative Chairman. This program year, I am serving as your Western Conference Legislative Chairman.
I have been a VFW Auxiliary member since November 1999, and have served as Auxiliary, District and Department Voice of Democracy/Patriot’s Pen Chairman, Scholarships Chairman, and Historian. I also attend the VFW Legislative Conferences in Washington D.C. in March and September of each year along with my husband, Bob, who is the Department of Idaho Legislative Chairman. In addition, I lobbied Congress in 1985, for the American Businessmen’s Group of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to encourage the sale and export of U.S. defense systems to our friendly Arab allies in the Middle East.
My home is in South East Idaho in the city of Rexburg. We moved to Rexburg in 1995, after living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for 16 years. I became eligible to join the VFW Ladies Auxiliary through my husband Bob’s eligibility for his service in Vietnam and Korea. He was an All-American Idaho State Commander in 2009-2010.
Bob retired from the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon after 20 years of service as a Lieutenant Colonel to accept a position as a Vice President with a U.S. defense contractor in the Middle East. At the time, I was also working for the same company as the Office Manager for a retired USAF Lieutenant General. We trained the Royal Saudi Air Force and Royal Saudi Land Forces in the use and maintenance of their U.S. supplied weapon systems. During our 16 years in Riyadh, I also worked for the U.S. Joint Economic Commission as a Financial Management Analyst, and later as a Management Analyst for the Resource Management Division, Department of the Army. We lived through Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War. I was awarded the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for civilian service.
Since moving to Rexburg, in September 2015, we have owned and operated two family restaurants (an independent restaurant in Island Park — 20 miles south of West Yellowstone, and the Rexburg Franchise of the Arctic Circle). For the past 14 years, I have been working as the Secretary for the Chairman of the Nursing Department at Brigham Young University-Idaho.
1 We have four children, five grandchildren, and one great grandson. I love animals (dogs and cats), cooking, baking bread, ceramics, embroidery, and working in the yard. I also enjoy doing volunteer work for the VFW Auxiliary, our community, church and spending time at our condo on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon.
I am looking forward to working with all of you as your Western Conference Legislative Chairman. This is a very important year for us to get involved and pro-actively participate in electing our local, state and national Legislators, who will represent us and support legislation which will improve the lives of our veterans, service members, and their families.
Attached for your info and use are some ideas for promoting and working your respective Legislative Programs.
Warm regards and thanks for all you do,
Carmelita M. Jones
Western Conference Legislative Chairman