Not This Time Vets Support Returning Service Personnel

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Something special from a soldier’s mom
by Donna Teresa

Military families have a unique strength unlike anything I have ever seen.

While others in America are sending their children off to college, mothers and fathers across the United States are saying goodbye to their sons and daughters to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.

After that goodbye is said, many families are going the extra mile back home, to serve their military community and lend support to each other, waiting and hoping for the safe return of their soldier. One of those California moms is no exception.

Donna Jacobs is the mother of Lt. John Jacobs, with the U.S. Marines. Lt. Jacobs has served two deployments, one in Fallujah and the other in Haditha. He returned home in April.

Before leaving to serve in his second deployment, her son and Donna made a pact with each other, her son told her, “I’ll take care of my men in Iraq, and you take care of them when they come home,” says Jacobs…

     

One mother’s promise with her son led to something more than she ever dreamed. Jacobs is the founder of “Not This Time Vets” — www.notthistimevets.org — a nonprofit organization in Santa Cruz County. This group is a nonpolitical, nonpartisan group. Its goal is to meet the needs of our troops during their deployment and when they come home and to educate the community on the needs of returning veterans.

It was on Nov. 9, 2004, when Santa Cruz lost one of its sons, Army Spc. Morgan Jacobs, to war that the reality of the conflict touched Donna’s heart. She wanted to do something so the community would remember those who were serving in the Middle East.

However noble the attempt was, she was met by resistance from many who did not share her feelings.

“I sent in an application with the First Night Santa Cruz committee asking that friends, family and loved ones of active duty military personnel from Santa Cruz be honored and recognized during the First Night parade,” said Jacobs. “My plan was to have family members carry photos of their loved ones with signs depicting their rank and place of deployment. Our application was denied by the First Night Committee Board, stating that we were a divisive group that would spark anger in the community. Many people who heard about this offered their support, as we were not a political group. Out of that gathering of people, Not This Time Vets was formed.”

Donna’s work as a veteran’s advocate is also personal.

“Being the mother of an active-duty Marine and being from the Vietnam era, I saw our Vietnam vets treated poorly due to our citizens’ disagreement with national policy,” she said. “The unpopularity of the war fell on the shoulders of those who were called to serve in it. Not wanting to see this happen to another generation of our youth, I founded Not This Time Vets in hope of deterring what happened to our Vietnam vets — hence our name.”

Jacobs continues to work tirelessly in her efforts to assist our veterans. Current projects include working on a plan for long-term care, and building a skilled rehabilitation center in Santa Cruz/Monterey County, especially to help those with severe poly trauma and head injuries, coordinating the annual Armed Forces parade in Santa Cruz and many other projects.

There are no plans to stop, even though her son is home.

Lt. John Jacobs, I believe your mother has kept her promise to you and the others she has served. A son should be so proud.


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