Word broke yesterday that our newly elected representative to Congress, Anthony Brindisi invited a special guest along with him to the State of the Union address, but who was he? News outlets introduced him as Chief Master Sergeant John Jones, a Utica native and superintendent of the maintenance group for the 174th Attack Wing at the ANG Base in Syracuse. As such, he will be serving as an advisor on Brindisi's Veteran Council, but that's not all...

On top of his quarter-century of service in the Air Force, he's been serving another related group for far longer, which actually led him to his distinguished military career. As a teenage cadet, John joined the Civil Air Patrol which just so happens to be the Congressionally appointed auxiliary for the Air Force. 'CAP' is best known for it's search and rescue efforts in regards to missing persons or downed airplanes nationwide, but arguably their most important mission is educating young people in leadership skills and preparing them for a career in aviation, particularly a military one. Looks like that worked for John, as not only is he highly competant in his field, but he's also one of the nicest and level-headed guys you'll ever meet.

Phoyo: John Jones

Now a Lt. Colonel in Civil Air Patrol, John (or 'JJ' as we know him) serves as the Chief of Staff for the New York Wing, which means he oversees all 90+ state-level staff members. Anthony Brindisi himself is also a recent member of CAP as an honorary Lt. Colonel in our State's Congressional Squadron and is an avid supporter of CAP's efforts.

As a staff member that serves under John in the Civil Air Patrol, he has my vote of confidence on Brindisi's team and I can't wait to see what these two men cook up for veterans state-wide. Fittingly, John has also been pursuing his pilot's license in his spare time and hopes to finally earn his wings this spring.

The Civil Air Patrol has almost 70 squadrons in New York State including one in Rome and two more in Syracuse. Read more and how you can get involved in CAP HERE.