A Kittitas veteran becomes "pen pals" with quarantine kids after mentoring them for thousands of hours. "Grandpa Ron" has found his new legacy. In March 2020, Ronald Jacobson had already volunteered for 900 hours of mentoring in an elementary school for the school year 2019-2020. He has been teaching students from Cle Elum-Roslyn Elementary in Ronald, Washington.
Kids missed Grandpa Ron
However, the school has moved to remote learning due to COVID-19. Jacobson told Good News Network that the children who had relied on him being there for them had suddenly lost him. He said that many complained that they missed "Grandpa Ron" when they started doing their schoolwork online.
Many requested for Grandpa Ron's contact information, so the administrators added Jacobson's contact details to the school's online directory. Immediately, students started sending emails and letters to him. Some would even come to his home to check up on him.
Others even offered to walk his dog. Jacobson said that motivation comes in many shapes, adding that it included round Oreo cookies.
His communication has helped many children
Now, the veteran responds to his "pen-pals," which is also adding light to his life. He said that he is happy to listen to the children's problems. He also shared that parents and faculty members say how his regular communication has helped changed the attitudes of the children.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has honored Grandpa Ron because of serving the community. It named the Vietnam veteran a spokesman for their campaign, "#StillServing." The title highlights America's veteran's many ways of continuing to serve even after leaving the active military.
Hal Roesch, the VFW National Commander, has sent Jacobson a personal message. He is thanking him for continuing community service and for mentoring so many children. Grandpa Ron does not want an award nor more attention, but he admits that it feels nice to make the kids he mentors proud.
Two important things he learned
Jacobson explained that the Marine Corps has taught him two important things. He said that one of them is to complete the mission, and the other one is to take care of your troops. He shared that he is still taking care of the troops, although they are just 75 years younger than he is.
He told King5 that the town was there 70 years before him, but it still sounds appealing to him. Apart from helping with greeting the buses in the morning, Grandpa Ron also helps patrol the lunchroom and recess. He also assists kids with reading and math.
When he started as a volunteer, the kids asked him what they should call him. Jacobson explained that he has 11 grandchildren, and they call him "Grandpa," and the name got stuck.
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