After 20 years of sending care packages to military troops across the world, Billings history teacher Hunter Jones was honored with a tribute in the congressional record.
It may have looked like a typical day at Will James Middle School on Wednesday, but for Jones, it was anything but.
“I woke up to snow and didn’t think the Wednesday was going to get better,” Jones said.
He walked into his second-period class ready to teach but instead found out that he was being honored for supporting military troops for over two decades.
His efforts were officially entered into the Congressional Record by Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.
“What he has in his hand will be forever enshrined in the Congressional Record for generations to come in honor of Mr. Jones,” Daines said.
Jones has been a teacher at Will James Middle School for 27 years. He had his classes start making care packages for troops back in 2001, when the war in Afghanistan started.
Thousands of Montana service members have received those packages.
“I’ve always tried to raise awareness for society to take care of the veterans,” Jones said.
His favorite part of sending care packages is receiving thanks from the service members that get those packages.
"I’ve been honored by several different units, those flags in my classroom, they come with certificates that say this flag was flown over a U.S base,” Jones said.
It’s a lesson not lost on his eighth grade students. AJ Alfons says that his teacher inspires him.
“I want to help people around the world that are, like, in need,” Alfons said.
Alex Bryce is also in Jones’ history class.
“I was like kind of proud of him, cause I feel like it’s a big honor to earn an award like that,” Bryce said.
Also proud is Will James Middle School Principal Becky Carlson.
Carlson has several family members who have served or are serving. Jones has made it a point to honor each and every one of them with their own plaques.
“So to see how Mr. Jones supports them, it humbles me,” Carlson said.
Jones doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He says he’ll continue sending care packages for as long as our military service members are deployed.