Legion Honors U.S.-Tico Soldier

June 11, 2004

MEMBERS of the American LegionPost 16 in Costa Rica have decided tochange their post name to honor U.S.Army Staff Sgt. Raymond Edison Jones,Jr., a U.S.-born Tico who was killed in Iraqin April.His mother, Olga Chaves, who lives inthe Central Valley town of Cariari, northwestof San José, says the family is havinga hard time dealing with his death. But, shesaid, one thing that makes it easier isknowing the 31-year-old soldier lovedbeing in the military.“A week before he died, his wife askedhim if when the war was over, he wanted toget out, and he said no,” Chaves said.The mourning mother says shereceived an e-mail message from her sonjust hours before he died on April 9.“He talked about how much he lovedus and missed us and to tell his brothershow much he loved them,” she told TheTico Times.CHAVES moved to the United Statesin 1969, and Raymond was born in Nevadain 1972.For the first 15 years of his life, hespent every summer in Costa Rica with hisgrandparents. Growing up, he loved sportsand animals, his mother recalled. In highschool he ran track. He also raised miniaturehorses, prompting his mother to thinkhe might grow up to be a veterinarian.Raymond was the oldest of four brothers.The second eldest, Mike, joined theservice during Raymond’s freshman yearof college at the University of Florida.After freshman year, Raymond also joinedthe military. Mike did three years andmoved on.“Raymond loved the military and hestayed there. He was a lifer,” his mom said.THE American Legion Post 16’s commander,Howard Singer, contacted Chavesabout their idea to rename their post afterher son.“Since he has a Tica mother, I thoughtthis would be a great name for our post, toshow respect to this country and his mother,”Singer told The Tico Times.Chaves said, “Mr. Singer has beenabsolutely great. He called me right fromthe beginning and asked for my permission.I am forever in debt to the AmericanLegion. They have been the best – the best.All of them. They have been my moralsupport.”RAYMOND’S 32nd birthday wouldhave been June 18.On that day, his wife Kapja will flyfrom Germany, where she lives, toWashington D.C., to spend his birthday athis gravesite in Arlington NationalCemetery.Raymond is also survived by his father,who lives in Florida, and his 12-year-olddaughter, Sasha Ray, from a previous marriage.Also on June 18, in Costa Rica, theAmerican Legion will hold a ceremony inhis honor and officially change its name toSgt. First Class Raymond Edison Jones,Jr., American Legion Post 16 Costa Rica.“It’s a long name, but there’s no way toget around it,” Singer said.The private ceremony will be at theU.S. Ambassador’s residence in Escazú,and will include a marine honor guard sentby the U.S. Embassy, and a showing ofboth the U.S. flag and the Costa Rican flag.HIS mother says Raymond reallybelieved in what he was a part of.“Raymond was an American, true andtrue, and all he wanted was freedom for theworld. I think if you would have asked myson how he wanted to die, he would havetold you that way,” she said.“He said in an e-mail to me: ‘Mom if Idie right now, I would die a happy man.’”Still, even though that sentence makesher feel a little better, it doesn’t take awaythe pain of losing her son.

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