It’s not easy coping with a loved one’s passing, but channeling that sorrow into helping others can be a wonderful way to build a tribute to their memory. And that’s exactly what Sheri Jones does every time she volunteers for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund. As the sister of a fireman’s widow, Sheri has seen first-hand what the charity can do for families and friends. “Firefighters are very special people with very big hearts,” she shares. “My sister got me involved and now they are all like family.”
This family has become so close to Sheri that she’s volunteered her time at every Widows & Orphans event for more than two and a half years. From the Lane Kemper Softball Classic to the LAFD Invitational golf tournament to the Hope for Firefighters fundraiser, she interacts with everyone, seeing instantly how the charity touches so many lives.
As a matter of fact, it’s the connection with so many that makes her volunteer time gratifying. When asked what is her favorite thing about volunteering, Sheri replies: “The people! Not only my sister, Valerie, and my adopted sister, Lydia, both who do so much for the charity, but all of the other volunteers too. The whole crew; I love them all.”
Giving back to the firefighters and their families didn’t start with the Widows & Orphans charity however. “My sister and her husband used to run the event, Benefit for the Bravest, and I would help by selling tickets,” explains Sheri. Volunteering for their fundraiser easily led her to helping in any way she could for Widows & Orphans. She’s wrapped prizes, sold tickets, organized raffles, gathered food entry samples, and even tracked aces on the golf course. Her dedication to helping fire station families is unquestionable. “I recently started back to working a full-time job, but if they have something for me to do on the weekend, I’ll make time for it.”
And making time is no easy feat for Sheri. When she’s not volunteering with the charity, she’s dedicating her aid and attention to the Simi Valley Relay for Life and the Kiwanis Club. In her personal down time, Sheri’s also rekindled her love for painting with watercolors. She even picked up the Best of Show award at the Simi Valley Art Association’s 2013 Open Juried Art Show.
Sheri may be passionate about painting, but it’s easy to see her heart belongs to her family. “My sister is a widow of a firefighter and he was more like a brother to me than a brother-in-law,” she reveals. “Widows & Orphans is close to my heart.” So for this good Samaritan, nothing could be better than giving back to the charity that helps firefighters’ families cope with the loss of their loved ones and build a tribute to their memory.
By Candace Nicholson