2/6/2013 6:00:00 AM For second time, Terry Jones has role at an inauguration
By STEVEN THOMAS Staff Reporter
A Neshoba County native had a role in last month's inauguration of President Barack Obama, a second for the National Guardsman who hopes to return again in 2017.
Terry Jones, a master sergeant with the Guard's 186th Air Refueling Wing out of Meridian, was in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 16-23 to help support security personnel for the event.
"We [Meridian] sent eight to nine guys and we split the detail with a group from Sioux City, Iowa," Jones said. "Our job was to cook and provide entertainment, i.e. MWR [morale, welfare and recreation]."
Jones' group stayed at River Terrace Elementary School, a closed facility in the northeast part of the city.
He described the job as working in "field conditions" inside the city.
"Depending where we're at, we might set up a recreation room with TV and satellite, bring DVDs and organize sports," he said, noting they provided some sort of entertainment for security personnel during down time to "get their minds off their work."
He recalled one young airman who spent a day getting basic cable installed at the school.
"It's the little things that help morale," he said.
Despite the work, Jones and others were able to attend the inauguration.
"There were so many people," he said. "It's something to experience. I hope to one day go when I'm not working."
Jones described the event as neat and unbelievable.
"People buy tickets and wait in long lines but we could just walk right up," he said. "It's amazing. All the planning [going into the event] is unreal."
This is not the first time Jones has worked a presidential inauguration.
In 2009, he and other members of his group performed the same task, that time supporting the active military personnel.
However, he was unable to see the first inauguration of President Obama due to being deployed back home that same day.
"We didn't get to see anything else," he said.
Jones volunteered to work this inauguration.
"I was surprised in 2009 and I didn't know what to do," he said. "I went with the flow but this time we were more organized."
In 2009, they found out they were leaving just a month before the inauguration but this time they knew it was coming and volunteered.
"I wanted the experience of it," Jones said. "I would do it again. I'm close to retiring but I might be there in four more years."
Jones will celebrate his 25th year of service this October.
He and wife of 23 years, Tammye, have one daughter, 20-year-old ECCC nursing student, Axie Jones.