When Cyndy Jones’s only son, U.S. Marine Captain Eric A. Jones, died in a helicopter crash while flying a combat mission on Oct. 26, 2009, in Afghanistan, it was the lowest moment of her life. Nearly 14 years later, Jones has demonstrated how tragedy can be turned into a force for good through her work with Heroes In Transition (HIT).
On June 8, Jones was one of 26 volunteers from throughout New England to be honored with a Myra H. Kraft Community MVP Award. The New England Patriots Foundation celebrated the group with an awards luncheon at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Myra Kraft Foundation Award“Eric’s death has taught me that giving back, especially to people who truly need it – like the ones HIT helps on a daily basis – is the greatest gift we can give in this life,” said Jones. “I am truly humbled by this recognition, especially because of Myra Kraft and all that she did to make people’s lives, our communities, and our society a better place. Our shared connection to Mashpee and Cape Cod makes this even more meaningful.”
As part of the recognition, the Patriots Foundation awarded a total of $275,000, divided among the recipients which included $10,000 to HIT.
Myra Kraft Foundation AwardHIT Executive Director Nicole Spencer, HIT Program & Volunteer Manager Kristen Alexander, and HIT Director of Communications Chris Kazarian joined Jones at the luncheon.
“Every day, I am inspired by all that Cyndy does to give back to heroes in our community who are serving and have served our country as well as their loved ones,” Spencer said. “She has shown so much care, compassion, and love for helping individuals and families who face tremendous challenges as a result of their military service. She has been a beacon of light for HIT and a shining example for how one can face tremendous loss with courage, dignity, and faith.”
The New England Patriots Foundation and the Kraft family have been recognizing volunteers who exemplify leadership, dedication, and a commitment to serving their communities for the past 25 years. Originally known as the Community Quarterback Awards, it was named in memory of Myra Kraft following her death in 2011.
Josh Kraft, President of the New England Patriots Foundation, spoke about what the awards meant to his mother Myra.
“She believed so much in volunteerism,” he said. “Shortly after her passing we created an ongoing initiative which is really our defining philanthropic initiative with the team – celebrate volunteerism. It really is a tribute to her and what was important to her. That’s why naming these awards in her memory was such an easy thing for us to do.”