IRVING, Texas – Thursday morning served as a highlight moment in the fruitful relationship between The Salvation Army and the Jones family.
As The Salvation Army prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the organization announced that Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and his wife Gene will be among the honorary chairs for the celebration.
Joining the Joneses as honorary chairs are another noteworthy couple in the Dallas area – former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, who were also announced to the positions Thursday morning.
The Jones family has been among of The Salvation Army's staunchest and most loyal supporters. All three Jones family members are on its National Advisory Board. Gene Jones is an active member, Jerry Jones is an emeritus member, and Charlotte Jones Anderson is the chair of the National Advisory Board, being the first woman to ever serve in the position.
"I think it's very appropriate that we recognize what The Salvation Army does – all the money that's given to The Salvation Army stays local," Jerry Jones said. "If you want something run where a dollar goes as far as it can go, you let The Salvation Army run it – they are an inspiration."
Jerry Jones said his relationship with The Salvation Army began 17 years ago, largely at the behest of his daughter and then-national chairman of the organization, Steve Reinemund. It was that meeting, he said, that began the Cowboys' involvement with The Salvation Army on Thanksgiving.
"I couldn't have imagined then that 17 years later, that we would have been able, over the years to have the visibility we've had," he said. "To have the halftime, the Thanksgiving Day halftime and help – literally – several million people."
The announcement capped off a big week for The Salvation Army, as Jones Anderson pointed out the opening of the Youth Education Town in Arlington, Texas, as well as the announcement of the co-chairs.
"We think this is going to be an outstanding year to celebrate all the great work that the Army does," she said. "We're proud to be up here to do what we can do, to take the visibility of who we are and to make a difference in the community."
Jones Anderson brought in the news with some good news of her own, as she announced that Cowboys sponsors BNSF Railways and Albertson's had each contributed $1.5 million to The Salvation Army to kick off the 125th year.