Jim and Bobby Stone, grand marshals of the 2012 SCV Fourth of July Parade.
The Stones: Rockiní the Role of Volunteerism
Local Couple Honored as Grand Marshals of 2012 SCV Fourth of July Parade
By Tim Whyte | SCVParade.com, June 18, 2012
Jim and Bobby Stone have been volunteering all their lives.
No, that's not an exaggeration. This local couple's record of service to country, to community dates back some 70 years. Jim is a Korean War veteran who is entering his 40th and, he says, final year as a volunteer for the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade. His wife, Bobby, goes one war earlier: She was a Marine yes, a Marine in World War II.
"She was a Marine in World War II, I mean, that just makes me drop to my knees and say, 'Thank you,'" said parade committee member Linda Storli.
Storli said the Stones are a powerhouse couple when it comes to volunteering, making them a logical choice to serve as co-grand marshal of this year's parade, which is celebrating the theme, "Santa Clarita Volunteers."
"Both Jim and Bobby I don't think they have ever said 'no' to anyone when they have asked for help, and those are the kind of people we are honoring in this parade," Storli said. "They're the consummate volunteers. They never turn you down. They never say they are too busy, and they started very young serving their country as well as their communities."
Fellow parade committee member Duane Harte said it will be difficult to replace the Stones' hard work on the parade, and after all the time and sweat equity they've devoted over the years, they have earned every bit of thanks they will receive from the community July 4.
"To go along with our theme 'Santa Clarita Volunteers' and you can read that two ways, with volunteers as either a noun or a verb it describes them very well," Harte said. "As volunteers, putting them in the grand marshal position, we thought it was a pretty good choice."
Robin Clough, director of volunteers at the SCV Senior Center, says the Stones' record of volunteerism is rock-solid over the course of several decades. Among other things, they have coordinated the center's monthly dance club and were instrumental in the installation of the center's dance floor and sound systems.
"Jim and Bobby are incredible senior advocates, " Clough said. "They have given so much of their time and energy to help the Senior Center and the seniors we serve.† Because of their invaluable service for so many years to the Senior Center, the community, and even the nation, I am thrilled that Jim and Bobby are being honored as grand marshals. It is especially meaningful and appropriate with the parade theme of 'Santa Clarita Volunteers,' as no one represents Santa Clarita better."
It All Started With an Auction...
Jim Stone said he started volunteering locally in 1972 when he set up the sound system for the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club Auction.
"I think that there were probably about 60 people there," said Jim, 74. "And you know what that has gone on to become."
Over his years volunteering in the Santa Clarita Valley, Jim has worked on the Walk of Western Stars, the Frontier Days rodeo and parade, and numerous events for the SCV Senior Center.
Jim said his bride got bit by the volunteerism bug before they got married.
"We've been married 21 years now, and before she married me she got sucked into working on the Boys and Girls Club Auction and the other stuff I was working on," Jim said. "That was part of the deal: She would have to come along with me, and she jumped in with both feet."
Jim said he and Bobby look forward to serving as grand marshal, and they are hunting down authentic uniforms to represent their military service.
During the Korean War, Jim worked on airborne communication and navigation equipment for the Air Force.
"I worked on anything that was electronic on the aircraft," he said.
After the war, he continued his career in the aerospace industry before shifting gears and going to work for the local Keysor-Century Corp., which manufactured vinyl records. That's where he became fascinated with audio technology, and began volunteering his services to set up sound systems for events.
Bobby's military career also involved aircraft, working to repair planes on a Marine Corps base.
"We repaired airplanes that came back from overseas, all beat up," she said. "We had one come in so full of holes I said, 'Well, that one will never fly again,' and guess who flew in it after it was repaired? Me."
Bobby's record of volunteering prior to connecting with Jim two decades ago included working with a literacy organization to teach English to immigrants. She said she drew a great deal of satisfaction from helping them.
"They come into the country and they don't know English, and they have to get along," she said. "Your students, they love you to pieces. They'll do anything for you, and the satisfaction of seeing them grow and get jobs it's a great feeling."
That, Bobby said, is the great secret of volunteering: "You get more out of it than you give."
Watch the entire 2012 Fourth of July Parade here.
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