Spotlight: Randy Jones

Since joining the program in 2016, Randy has become a familiar face; Contributing over 80 volunteers hours in 2017 across 21 events and earning his General Class radio operator license last February. You’ll often hear his voice on the recurring CERT amateur radio nets, asking great questions and offering excellent advice.

Where were you born? And tell us about your childhood home(town).

I was born in Fort Worth, TX during a rainstorm in August. Ever since then, my life has been full of paradoxes.  My dad was a pastor and I lived in three small towns in North Louisiana and one in East Texas before returning to Fort Worth, where I went to high school.  Despite all the wonderful times I had growing up in the small towns, I call Fort Worth my hometown.

Although Fort Worth has been a big city for all of my life and offered many opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, it was laid back enough for this country boy to find a way to make it a small town in his mind.  I have some great friends and tons of memories from there.  When I got my driver’s license, I would drive my friends to Crystal’s Pizza after church on Sunday nights in my dad’s unairconditioned ’76 Dodge Aspen.  I loved all kinds of sports and played organized football, basketball, baseball, and tennis, but I ended up lettering in golf in HS.  Our home course was underneath the flight path of Carswell AFB and the ground shook and I did too when the B-52s were taking off over us. A wonderful dad at church organized a boys softball team when I was 17 and I’ve been playing softball ever since, (38+ years now). One umpire recently introduced me to another umpire as having played when Methuselah did. After college, I returned to Fort Worth and lived there until I moved to Allen.

What brought you to Allen, TX?

My work as an engineer at TI in Plano brought me to Allen in 1991.  The drive from Fort Worth was about an hour and 15 minutes one way.  No matter how much I enjoyed driving my ’84 Mustang GT, I was working extra hours on a hot project and many times I was on autopilot driving home and barely remembered the ride.  I would tell people, “My horse knows the way home.”

Tell us about your immediate family (including any pets).

I feel blessed to have the family I have from blending two families. I have four wonderful daughters and one amazing son, two super sons-in-law, four fantastic grandsons, two elderly dogs, two independent cats, and two hidden leopard geckos that only come out to eat crickets.

My first wife, Candy, I met here in Allen and she rescued me from my aimless bachelorhood in 1994 and gave me Kimberly, Grant, and Miranda to care for.  Unfortunately she became sick and died of cancer in 2003.  We were married for 8 1/2 years.  I was a widower for 3 tough years and then Renee came into my life and rescued me from heartbreak and loneliness and gave me Charissa and Tiffani to care for.  She’s been in Allen since she was little.  She also looks so much better than me. I tell her I just look more extinguished. We just celebrated our 12th anniversary.

What three words best describe yourself?

I have had plenty of people describe me in ways that I don’t necessarily agree with. Deep inside, I think I understand why. I’ve gained friends and lost friends over these same things. From the top 100, I’m inclined to pick Loyal (to family and good causes), Protective (of my family and teammates), and Analytical (anal for short).

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Many good memories that come to mind and stand out the most are how my family protected me from the chaotic world’s influence of the 60’s and 70’s … like turning down the radio while I was singing “Bye, bye, Miss American Pie …” in the back seat when I was around 9 years old.  Or, not letting me go see Young Frankenstein with my friends when I was barely a teenager.  I enjoy both the song and the movie, now, but I wasn’t ready for them then.  They couldn’t always protect me from the outside world and so I’ve grown to appreciate how God taught me a very important lesson in life when, at age 4, I sat down near an ant bed and tried to make friends.  I’ve spent the rest of my life learning how to leave well enough alone.

Who is/was your greatest mentor?

I’m not sure if “greatest mentor” means someone that made the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time or spent the most time and energy trying to help me finally get “it”.  I have to give credit to a teacher in 6th grade that said I ought to become an engineer when I told him I liked math so much, one of my bosses that interviewed me and was instrumental in hiring me out of college when I still wasn’t very sure what being an engineer meant, all my grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but especially my mom (a teacher) and my dad (a pastor) who spent countless hours and energy working on me.  God is the greatest mentor of all.

What is your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

Having played baseball as a kid, played softball for about 38 years, coached baseball for over 10 years, I have to go with karaoke … just kidding!

What is your greatest accomplishment?

It’s hard to really say what my greatest accomplishment is when the jury is still out.  I’m a jack of all trades and an expert of none.  I’ve done so many different things and enjoy so many different things, I don’t really have anything that pops into mind.  I’m still working on solving all the world’s problems and I’ll let you know when I’m done.

What advice can you give newer CERT members?

I’m a pretty new CERT member myself and I’ve tried to be a part of every drill or simulation and take as much training as possible.  I think that formula is working real well for me.  More importantly, I’m getting to know wonderful citizens of Allen who are going to make themselves available and stand in the gap when a disaster strikes.  The more we practice and the more we get to know each other and trust each other, the better we will respond when something bad happens in or near Allen and we are called out.

How has CERT made an impact on your life, personally and professionally?

I got into CERT because two totally unrelated friends mentioned it to me at about the same time. As I looked into what CERT does, it seemed to fit my need to be prepared for all of the situations that disasters can create without warning … chaos, injuries, loss of life and property,.  I’m not a first responder … someone who puts their own life at risk, chooses to be a hero, and does it for a living.  I just want to be ready to help them when they need extra help.

CERT opened the door to being a better contributor to my community. I’ve been in Allen for about 27 years and after raising kids for so long, I finally discovered a satisfying way to volunteer and contribute. My family has been very supportive and that means a lot to me.  I’ve also become a licensed HAM radio operator and my only regret is that I wish I had obtained my license 30 years ago.