PROFILE OF MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
Judy Elkins was born April 26, 1941 in Pryor, Oklahoma to Maxine and Eugene Elkins. Judy was the family’s third sibling, along with two sisters, Jeanetta and Patricia, as well as an older brother Raymond. She grew up in the small Oklahoma town of Yukon, graduating from Yukon High School in 1959. Judy began working right out of high school for Globe Life Insurance in their corporate office, along with attending Oklahoma City University where she received a BA in business. In 1964 Judy decided to move closer to family and made a huge move to Washington State.
Twelve years after moving to Tacoma, Judy met her future husband Brian, and they married March 5, 1977. Judy’s two daughters, Lori and Terri fit right in to make the family complete. After working in the auto parts business for many years, Judy formed a partnership with a former colleague to open their own store, Puyallup Auto Parts, in Puyallup, Washington. Upon graduation from high school, both girls went their separate ways and the empty nesters entertained the idea of moving to a warmer climate.
The Jones’ moved from the Seattle/Tacoma area to Fresno, California in 1982. Fresno’s sunny climate and friendly people made them feel right at home, besides the fact that many family members; including her parents and grandparents had also migrated there.
After her retirement in 1995 as an office manager, Judy’s world of volunteerism began. Brian has service connected disabilities that he acquired during service in Vietnam. He received three purple hearts, a Bronze Star with “V” device, and a combat infantry badge, among others. Through Brian’s Vietnam service, Judy was eligible to become a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary. She became an active member from the first day, and understands the importance of being an activist to insure the continuance and adoption of veteran entitlements. In their veterans’ activities, the Jones’ have developed a deep understanding of protecting the needs of our nation’s veterans. Their active memberships include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, and Judy is a Charter Member of the Ladies Auxiliary Military Order of the Purple Heart. Brian is also a member of the 25th Infantry Division.
Judy thoroughly enjoys being an active member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and has served that organization in various capacities including Auxiliary President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain, District 11 President, as well as several State chairmanships. She served as the Department President of California in 2010-11, and has since been appointed and/or elected to National positions. She has always felt fortunate, as well as honored, to serve the veterans of Fresno and the surrounding communities. She has volunteered at the Veterans Hospital, the annual veterans “Stand Down,” and as secretary of the Veterans Day Parade Committee.
Judy and Brian’s daughters have blessed them with six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Judy can’t say enough about volunteering for the Veterans Memorial Museum, “Home of the Legion of Valor” where she serves as an administrative assistant to Director Bob Specht. This opportunity has put her in weekly contact not only with our veterans, but with students and members of the community who visit the museum for its wonderful history lessons and educational benefits. It has also given her the opportunity to meet many of our nation’s most distinguished Legion of Valor recipients. To know the acts of bravery it took for them; and each and every other combat veteran (all of whom have risked their lives for our freedom) instills thoughts of awe, appreciation, and thankfulness in her heart.