At age 20, Poly’s beloved security guard Kevin Jones, an Altadena native, had the itch to get away and see the world. In 1987, he made a decision that would shape his life and values; he joined the Navy. This past week in honor of Veteran’s Day, Kevin visited the Lower and Middle School to share how his Navy experience made him into the person he is today.
Kevin did much of his Navy training in bases in California including San Diego and Long Beach, before his active duty deployment that took him to Hawaii, the Philippines, and the Middle East. He quickly learned in boot camp that he preferred to be an early riser, a practice he still continues today along with meditation.
“You learn how to prioritize. You learn how to not sweat the small things but really take care of the real priorities. I do apply a lot of the values to fatherhood and my work,” shared Kevin.
The experience contributed to Kevin’s idea of leadership, serving as Petty Officer, Second Class during his service. He shared harrowing experiences of combat aboard his ship, the U.S.S. Gary FFG-51 but also that of trust for those onboard and senior officers. Kevin was always inspired by his First Executive Office Lieutenant Commander Robert Moon. His leadership and tactical skills kept their ship at optimal readiness.
Later, Commander Robert Moon, a gay man, served as the Mayor of Palm Springs. Kevin greatly respected Robert, and their relationship predates the lifting of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Kevin shares that his ability to see beyond preconceived notions of people influences his work today with welcoming visitors to campus and meeting those in the Poly community.
“My Navy experience was thrilling. Talk about adventures!” said Kevin. “It was very scary at times, but I also witnessed moments of learning and other cultures such as Ramadan in the Middle East and visiting places like Hong Kong and Singapore. When you come to another country, you are a foreigner and need to act respectfully. Learning that is really cool.”