• 34°

North Alabama veterans coalition selects Downs as ‘Veteran of the Year’

MADISON – Retired Major Jean Downs has been honored as “Veteran of the Year” by the North Alabama Veterans & Fraternal Organizations Coalition or NAVFOC.

The coalition presented the award at a Veterans Day ceremony at Redstone Arsenal’s Summit on Nov. 10. NAVFOC is an alliance of 35 organizations in North Alabama.

For the past two years, Downs has served as Vice Commander of Madison American Legion, Post 229 and activated the American Legion, Post 229 Auxiliary unit. She was elected and re-elected twice as Auxiliary President.

Downs actively participates with Post 229 Honor Guard with involvement at more than 100 funerals. As Historian 229, she drafts articles in local newspapers and publishes on social media.

Her service continues with headstone cleaning of veterans’ graves, and, for Girl Scouts, was Troop Leader, Camp Trico caretaker, recruiter for help with American Legion projects and mentor for Gold Award candidates.

Downs managed a softball competition, led Girls State delegates, coordinated cadet awards for JROTC units and organized social events to foster comradery between veterans.

“Jean embodies American Legion’s pillar of Americanism in her devotion to law and order, raising wholesome youth, an educated and law-abiding citizenship and respectful observance of patriotic holidays and remembrances,” Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy said.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jean thought outside the box. As poppy sales lead, she solicited and secured corporate sponsorship in lieu of our usual collection of donations while handing out poppies,” Vannoy said.

For the Auxiliary, “she stood up the inactive unit and continues to grow membership,” Vannoy said. “She also started a Junior Auxiliary unit.”

Downs has been associated with Girl Scouts troops for 10-plus years. She served as mentor/facilitator for 10 projects for Girl Scouts to qualify for the Gold Award. Two projects were veteran-centric in 2021 — Madison Veterans Park revitalization and drop-off boxes for flag retirement.

During 20 years of U.S. Army service, Downs was stationed across the United States and Central America and completed combat tours in Iraq and Saudi Arabia with 1st Calvary Division.

“Jean has taken her passion for today’s youth and fellow veterans and combined them in a way that has impacted many in our community,” Vannoy said. “American Legion is dedicated to God and country, with a membership of military veterans who take deep pride in the U.S. flag and all that it means. She continues to devote countless hours each week to help veterans in our community, youth education and honoring military service.”

“There is no one more deserving of the ‘Veteran of the Year’ than retired Major Jean Downs,” Vannoy said.

Bob Jones High School

National chess championships open to Madison players

Bob Jones High School

Madison Visionary Partners opens nominations for Madison Visionary Awards

Madison

Interfaith Day of Prayer debuts with people of diverse beliefs

Harvest

Toyota association donates to The Salvation Army’s holiday projects

Madison

Mustangs take down Sylvania 35-28 in Black Friday playoff epic

Harvest

Japan-America Society presents award to Robert Black

Harvest

Ardie Dean’s career in drumming led him to 5 continents and Carnegie Hall

Harvest

Holidays open with Fantasy Playhouse’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

James Clemens High School

Jets dominate Senators in road tilt

Bob Jones High School

Many chess players earn first-ever rating at Queen’s Quest

Bob Jones High School

Take a break: Madison, Triana libraries’ sessions calm holiday stress

Bob Jones High School

Teens: Apply now for American Legion Oratorical Contest

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – Nov. 15, 2023

Madison

Madison City Interfaith Day of Prayer debuts Saturday at 10 a.m. at City Hall

Harvest

Apple Festival honors hospital’s therapy dog, entertains employees

James Clemens High School

Jean Downs accepts AUSA Volunteer Family of the Year Award

Bob Jones High School

Patriot, Jets actors and one-act plays advance to state drama festival

James Clemens High School

Hoover punishes James Clemens in playoff blowout 42-16

Harvest

Nelson founds Veterans Initiative Program to ease military transitions

Harvest

Ring bells at Red Kettles for young, elderly’s Christmas gifts

Business

BJ’s Wholesale Club opens Friday in Town Madison

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones boys, girls cross country qualify for state championship

Harvest

TARCOG’s Caregiver College to honor those diligent workers

Madison

At Midtown, service dog Millie drives home the threat of distracted driving

x