Elk NetworkAnswer The call – Volunteer Highlight

Bugle - Featured Articles | February 28, 2024

Looking Back 

“Without Aaron, there’s a good possibility we wouldn’t have made it,” says Charlie Decker, RMEF co-founder.

Aaron Jones was not a co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, but his passion for its cause and his steadfast philanthropic support kept it afloat in the early years, almost from day-one.

Born in Texas and raised in Oregon, Jones served in World War II and then founded a lumber company that grew to employ more than 400 people. As much as he revered his employees and the forest, he also loved elk hunting and a fledgling conservation group with a mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Jones joined RMEF as Life Member #7 in 1985.

“He was critical to the start of RMEF,” says Decker. “We had to get Bugle magazine published so we called him to borrow $10,000. He told us to pay him back in a year, but we didn’t have it, so we went to the bank and borrowed $10,000 and sent it to him. He sent it back to us and said, ‘I was just checking you guys out.’”

Not only did Jones watch over RMEF, but he also stepped up by volunteering as the second chair of the RMEF Board of Directors and further helped steer the organization by serving as its fourth president. In 2001, he received the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, the organization’s highest honor, for contributions of lasting significance to RMEF’s mission.

Jones passed away in 2014, leaving behind a legacy of conservation, dedication and volunteerism.

“Aaron will be remembered for the way he treated people. If he believed in someone, there was no limit to his support of that person. If he believed that something was right, there was no limit to his support of that principle,” says Marie Jones,
Aaron’s wife.