At Work and In Life Veteran's Actions Are Driven By Service
“When I lost my first wife, Ann, to cancer, I found myself with time on my hands,” Jim reflected as we walked the grounds at Riverside National Cemetery. Jim said he needed a focus for his time and a way to heal his heart. “This time, when they came knocking and asked me again to be involved, I said yes and have not looked back.”
Making A Difference“Although I was born in California I moved around a lot since my father was a career Air Force Officer. I stumbled into my California Dream job when I started driving a ready mix truck. I loved it,” says Jim Gore with a steadiness that reflects his demeanor. From that first job, he steadily built his successful career from the ground up. Today, Jim is responsible for putting together teams of individuals that have successful permitted approximately 2.4 billion tons of resources for Vulcan Material Company, the nation's largest producer of construction aggregates.
Jim understands the importance of being a part of the community, as does Vulcan, which encourages and supports the involvement of its employees in the communities in which they live and work.
“I'm passionate about the good work we do at Vulcan. It makes a genuine difference in the lives of local residents,” Jim emphasized. “Each and every day you can see the results of your work on the roads you drive, the house you live in, and the park your kids play in. None of that would be there without us.”
For Jim, making a difference is also about service above self. Simply stated by this Army Airborne veteran, “As much as I love my work, my passion is Riverside National Cemetery.”
“When I lost my first wife, Ann, to cancer, I found myself with time on my hands,” Jim reflected as we walked the grounds of the National Cemetery dedicated to the internment of United States military. He needed a focus for his time and a way to heal his heart.
He found both working locally to remember and honor our nation's military veterans.
“Airborne!” exclaimed long-time friend, Bill Chamberlain, when asked to describe Jim Gore. The two Riversiders are kindred spirits, united in their support for the memorials at the cemetery.
“I met Jim in 1996 when I worked with his wife, Ann, on the Riverside Against Drugs Fundraiser. I did not know he was a Vietnam Veteran until he began riding his Harley with Ann in West Coast Thunder in the early 2000s,” explained Bill, VP Sales & Marketing at Raceway Ford, and strong community supporter himself. Bill spied the Army Airborne patches on Jim's vest and their friendship took off.
Jim recalls sitting around at a backyard BBQ with friends, including Bill and Deb Chamberlain & Paul Adkins and his wife Nina McCoy. “We came up with an idea for a fundraiser,” and that's how Honor Our Heroes, a West Coast Thunder annual event was born. In October 2018, the event raised $260,000 for Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee (RNCSC).
The Support Committee on which Jim and Bill both serve provides anything from needed landscaping equipment to funds for memorial areas and statues at the site. It is also the place Jim met his current wife, Shelly A. Gore.
Riverside National, which is near March Air Reserve Base off of the I-215 Freeway in Riverside, has memorial circles, lakes, and several significant monuments including the Medal of Honor Memorial, Fallen Soldier/Veterans' Memorial and the Prisoner of War/Missing In Action (POW/MIAs) National Memorial. Jim has been a part of each one.
As he sat near the striking tribute to POW/MIAs with its black marble pillars that stir the imagination to conjure the imprisonment endured by so many service members, Jim reminisced about his military service and that of his family. “I was a 17-year-old punk kid when I went in; two and half years later, I came out a 19 year old man.”
Jim joined the Army in 1969 and was a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, serving time fighting for the U.S. in the Vietnam War.
It's not surprising as Jim's family has a rich history of service to their country. His father was career Air Force serving in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam, and relocated the family to then-March Air Force Base in '68. His brother was also in the 173rd with Jim and was actually his squad leader.
When Jim Gore returned to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1971, it was with a Purple Heart awarded for wounds received in action.
He also earned Combat Medic Badge; Parachute Jump Wings; Army Good Conduct Medal: Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal First Class Unit Citation, and Vietnam Service Medal with one Service Star.
Service is a recurring theme in Jim's life. He also gives back to the community in Corona where he's a member of the Chamber of Commerce. But nothing comes close to his passion for RNC.
“The work we do in the community is important,” Jim said, describing with a tone of awe the upcoming Veterans Day tribute at the National Cemetery, where 262,000 American flags are planted on graves by volunteers. “It means a lot to me.”
And Jim means a lot to Riverside and its National Cemetery. He makes a difference that matters.