Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 07-01-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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12 NORTH PROVIDENCE JULY 1-7, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION He made his first flag as a gift, and then the flood of orders began. "It got me out of the constant negativity state, and I relate more to my job, too," he said. "It gets me out of the mindset of this career field." Many of his orders so far have been from fellow law enforcement professionals and military person- nel, he said, but they're coming from all corners and from across the U.S. He said he went with the flag theme in honor of this country and the people who defend it. It has everything to do with patrio- tism and nothing to do with being "Republican, Democrat, veteran or not," he said. We see every year at the Fourth of July how proud people are of their flag, he said, that "that was the passion of it, the hobby of it." Each piece is custom-made, with Jones doing all the carving and burning of the stars and other details for flags and other items by hand, including flag crosses or signs. He said it's such a great feel- ing to get pictures back from happy customers of the items he's made hanging in their homes. Police generally don't do a great job promoting all of the good things they do, said Jones, in part because a lot of it is done as just a regular part of their workday. He recalled the time a woman was caught taking food from a store and the store owners wanted to press charges. Instead, he said, he told the owners he would pay for the items, then helped connect the woman with Crossroads R.I. While many think of police nega- tively for giving tickets or arresting people, Jones said there is so much more that goes into the work, with officers called on to educate, inter- act, restore order, keep roads safe, and often counsel. Jones says he believes reform within policing needs to happen, but it should also be done the right way. He and others oppose current legislation to update the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, for instance, but understand that it's outdated and needs to be cleaned up. "The system works, cops that need to be fired get fired," he said. Other wider efforts to spur change and reform have many positive aspects, he said. Jones said everything he does is for his wife, Jessica, and two chil- dren, including risking his life in the line of duty and working extra hours. He said one aspect of reform is making sure officers have outlets and ways to de-stress and stay con- nected to good things. "I would love to be in a position someday to employ first respond- ers and help them transition into the civilian world again," he said. "Emergency services has an impact on our lives." He said he doesn't believe the profession does enough to educate and guide officers who are close to retirement into a successful transi- tion. Jones said he grew up with a single mother on welfare in Providence after his own father, also a military man and police officer, left. He dropped out of high school to work construction, and it wasn't until he was 19 that he decided he wanted to go into law enforcement. He "had to work this job for free in Woonsocket as a police reserve," then work five years at the ACI and join the National Guard just to have a chance at employment. Now, he said, he's eight classes away from a master's degree. "I choose to do this flag busi- ness to honor those that serve, provide for my family, and create opportunities for my daughter that I did not have," he said. "That gratification makes it all worthwhile because what I create will last in people's families for generations. It's special." Jones comes from a family in public service, with both his father and grandfather serving in the mili- tary and his father working as a Providence police officer. His new garage work space is decorated with flags and military and police gear. "It's an inspiring space to do what I'm doing," said Jones, himself an Army and Air National Guard vet- eran. The business got to such a point that his wife started the Facebook page, helping him out with a logo using a Cricut machine. She works at Salon Beautopia in Cranston, and it was her work as crafter mak- ing custom wreaths that inspired him to create his own hobby. Jones said he remains commit- ted to his job as police officer and hasn't been tempted to abandon it for full-time work making items, but said he does enjoy the entre- preneurial aspect and the ability to create his own schedule. Prices for items start at $150, but it depends on desired details, which have included NFL, union and military logos. Jones lays out the boards that he has cut, burnt with a blow torch, and stained to make one of his 37-inch wide custom made wooden flags in his workshop. BREEZE PHOTOS BY BILL MURPHY North Providence POLICE LT. TOM JONES, right, with his wife JESS and daughter MILANI, has started a new business, Stars and Stripes Woodworking, making hand-carved flags and crosses. Jones uses a Dremel 3000 rotary tool to hand carve the stars on one of his custom made crosses last Saturday. STRIPES From Page One In your time of need, The North Providence Breeze will print your loved one's full obituary for a small charge. The paper also places the obituary on our Web site, valleybreeze.com, as soon as it is provided to us by your family's funeral director. Notification to friends and neighbors is also made weekdays on WOON-AM radio announcements. Should you desire our services, kindly inform your funeral director. The full charge is $90, or $125 for lengthy obituaries, in the edition of your choice. You may place the obituary in any of our other editions for $50 each. Thank you. OBITUARIES 3rd Generation Family Owned and Operated Geoffrey Greene ~ LfD Jennifer Greene faGan ~ LfD 2251 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, RI 231-9307 • www.robbinsfuneralhome.com

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