ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (May 23, 2017) – For more than 20 years, Joey Jones has been a proud member of the National Guard, traveling twice to the Middle East for yearlong deployments and serving more often closer to home when hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters threatened.
The lead operator for a seven head saw crew at Bay Wood Products in Robertsdale, Ala., Jones was recently notified of his deployment for at least a year to Kuwait along with other members of the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC), an Alabama Army National Guard Unit based in Birmingham.
The 50-year-old father of five, who holds the rank of E6 Staff Sergeant, said getting called up again after 23 years in the Guard was unexpected: "I’m honored, though, that they asked me to go."
"We want to recognize him and let him know how much we appreciate his service to our country," said Jimmy Wilson, founder and president of Bay Wood Products Inc. "Joey is a natural leader and one of the best employees we have."
Jones said this deployment will be the second during his 18-year tenure at Bay Wood Products. He joined the wooden pallet manufacturer in 1999, the same year his son, Jacob, was born. In 2004, Jones was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq.
"Bay Wood kept in touch with me and sent me care packages," Jones said, recalling the letters and treats that helped make his time away a little easier. "I’m Bay Wood for life. I love what I do and the people I work with. They are like family to me."
Jones’ 17-year-old-son Jacob, recently decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the National Guard. "He leaves for boot camp in June after completing his junior year in high school," Jones said. "I’ll be able to see him off before I leave."