James L. (Jim) Watson is a true hometown hero because he continually strives to make Athens a better place to live and always has time to lend a hand when it is needed. Jim spent over 32 years in the caring business, whether it was working in the operating room at Athens Limestone Hospital or at Athens Convalescent home, he was taking care of someone!
Jim, who was born in Michigan and was raised in Kansas, joined the US Army after finishing high school in 1963 to help support his mother and sister. Uncle Sam was at the recruiter’s office the day he went in to sign up and he said “I Want You!” “No one else said they wanted me, and I wanted to serve my country, so I signed up!” he said. Jim had worked in a veterinarian’s office and wanted to go into the K-9 Corps, but he scored very strong in electronics, so they put him in the Signal Corps instead.
He went to basic training at Ft Leonardwood, then to Ft Gordon for eight more weeks of training and then it was off to Asan, Korea. One of his most memorable times was not getting to call home while in Korea and coming home to his girlfriend Linda (Eubanks). After getting out of the Army in 1966, he worked at Cuttler Hammer and then decided to go to Calhoun College School of Nursing. He spent 18 years in the operating room at Athens Hospital.
He supports all of his local veteran’s organizations. He is a member in good standing of the American Legion Post 49, American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 21, Disabled American Veterans Post 51, Vietnam Veterans of America, (VVA) Post 511, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Jim not only supports these organizations, he is constantly recruiting new members. Jim is also a proud member of the Limestone County Burial Detail, ensuring our fallen veterans receive a proper military funeral.
Jim is a member of the Limestone County Sportsman Club, where he teaches children how to fish, all the while respecting others’ property, and sets up turkey shoots. He teaches children at Cowart Elementary about flag etiquette and how to fold the flag. He also plays Santa Claus at Christmas at the school. Add in being a volunteer at Hospice during the annual Chili Challenge, helping out with Relay for Life, giving blood and working at the senior center, you can see he is a busy man! In spite of all these things, Jim is still able to help out with one of his three grandchildren at the drop of a hat!!
Jim has been a volunteer at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum since the beginning. He gives tours and educates our children on local and military history. He would like to see an elevator installed to the second floor so everyone can enjoy the library. He attends church at the West Hobbs St. Church of Christ, where he volunteers to drive a bus for a monthly seniors and widows outing. Come by the Alabama Veterans’ Museum and let him give you one of the best tours going!
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans' Museum