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Vietnam veteran who served his country now serves food to his community in Denver

Ron Jones_Purple heart recipient helps deliver food around Colorado
Posted at 9:08 AM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 11:13:27-05

DENVER — For Ron Jones, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, nor does his desire to help others.

"My mom started doing volunteer work in St. Louis and she got an award and that influenced me," Jones said. "She got a volunteer of the year award and I thought I’m younger, if she could do it, I can do it too."

Jones' mom taught him that those who have should help those who don't. His childhood taught him what the latter feels like.

"My mother raised four kids, single parent and some days she had money and some days she didn’t have money," Jones said. "It was stressful at the time, but I didn’t realize how bad the stress was at the time being a kid."

It's part of the reason for the past 15 years, every Tuesday, the Vietnam veteran loads up his truck with food from Food Bank of the Rockies and delivers it to a growing number of the hungry at Denver's Zion Senior Center.

Gwedolyn Mami of the Zion Senior Center said she has seen the need go up during the pandemic

"I think that we, in some cases, have doubled what we have served in the past," Mami said. "And then when you look at the state of the economy and just the tremendous need around the community it just makes this resource all the more valuable."

For seniors, like Janet Shafer, the weekly food delivery keeps her afloat.

"I’m picking up some vegetables and food to help last me until I get my check next month. So, this is just to help out a little bit," Shafer said.

Mami said that area of Park Hill is a food desert.

"The nearest grocery store is roughly two miles away, maybe a little more than two miles away and so by having access to the commodities that Ron brings to us, it enables people to stretch their dollars," Mami said.

Jones' mother passed away last month, but her compassion and her fierce devotion to helping others now live on in her son.

"This is my way of giving back and I say as long as I got my health and I can do it, I’m gonna do it," Jones said.

Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.