Glenville

Glenville volunteer honored by White House

Larry Jones of Glenville holds up a diagram of what is included inside a Shelter Box, part of the necessary equipment to aid after a natural disaster that's shipped to areas across the globe, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.
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Larry Jones of Glenville holds up a diagram of what is included inside a Shelter Box, part of the necessary equipment to aid after a natural disaster that's shipped to areas across the globe, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.

GLENVILLE – Larry Jones, 63, was honored by the White House earlier this month for his volunteer work.

Jones, of Glenville, was awarded a 2022 President’s Volunteer Service Award for his efforts on behalf of ShelterBox USA, a global disaster relief organization that provides emergency shelter and household supplies to individuals around the world who have been forced from their homes by disaster or armed conflicts.

“I was a little surprised,” Jones said of when he heard the news on a conference call with ShelterBox. “Then they explained what it was. And I was like, this is really cool. But I’ve been low key about it, because it’s not about me. It’s about the organization.”

Jones, a retired financial adviser, became involved with Shelterbox through the Rotary International, which partners with ShelterBox. Jones is currently a Rotary ShelterBox Ambassador, and he has served as a District Governor for Rotary District 7190, as well as president of the Glenville club.

In his leadership role, Jones helps steer local fundraisers for ShelterBox. Each box costs about $1,000 to fill, and Jones estimates his local Rotary district, which has 41 clubs and roughly 1,000 members, has supported more than 500 boxes since 2000. Jones said his local district has funded more than 30 boxes in the past two years.

With the support of Jones last year, ShelterBox provided supplies to 143,000 people in 11 countries, or 28,600 households, including its largest response to date in the Philippines to Typhoon Rai last December, according to ShelterBox.

Started in 2000 in the United Kingdom to help people in Haiti following an earthquake, ShelterBox provides family-sized tents and essential tools to start repairing and rebuilding homes. The organization’s kits and boxes also contain items that help transform shelter into a home, such as cooking sets, solar lights, blankets, water filtration and mosquito nets. These items enable families to recover following a disaster, providing a way to keep communities and families together.

Since its founding, ShelterBox has responded to more than 300 disasters – earthquakes, volcanos, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis and war – in more than 100 countries. ShelterBox was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and 2019. ShelterBox USA is based in Santa Barbara, California.

Jones said one of his favorite stories is about a Palestinian man who was displaced and lived with his family in a ShelterBox tent for more than two years. Now he is an employee of Rotary International.

“That’s an amazing story,” Jones said.

Jones said the boxes and supplies have been used to help Ukrainians following Russia’s invasion. In response to the crisis in Ukraine, District 7190 has raised about about $18,000, specifically for ShelterBox, Jones said.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a special recognition presented by the White House. It is part of a national program created in 2003 through the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for individuals of all ages who contribute at least 100 hours to volunteer activities.

“By sharing your time and passion, you are helping discover and deliver solutions to the challenges we face – solutions that we need now more than ever. We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love,” President Joe Biden’s letter reads. “Through your service, you are providing all three.”

Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

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