Jim Jones served the residents of Northern Gila County on the board of supervisors for eight years. He continues his service to area residents today with work on the board of directors of the Northern Gila County Sanitary District.
To honor the man and his service, the Gila County Board of Supervisors has renamed the Northern Gila County range the Jim Jones Shooting Range. Jones was instrumental in getting the range for the Tonto Rim Sports Club members.
It was created in 1981, when Jones was on the board of supervisors. He found the land, designed its layout and made a financial contribution to get the range started.
"The Tonto Rim Sports Club founded and constructed the range," said Ronald Haar, one of the members working on plans for a special dedication ceremony.
Health problems recently forced Jones to resign from the county's range commission and are delaying setting a date for the dedication program his fellow club members would like to have for him.
Dale Newland, Forest Switzer, and Jones's daughter, Patty Henderson are working with Haar on the plans for the ceremony.
"The range is not just for the club," Switzer said. "All police agencies use it, including law enforcement officers from Game and Fish, state parks and the DEA," said Switzer.
"It's a very significant facility," Haar said of the 80-acre range. "It's a safe place to shoot and keep from tearing up the forest. Even when the forest is closed because of fires, the range is open."
"Jim contributed to the range, serving as its president for 25 years," Haar said.
Jones moved to Payson in the early 1970s, though the family had been visiting the area since about 1954.
"He's quite a guy," Newland said. "He's a feisty guy."
That feisty nature was never more apparent than a couple of years ago. Henderson said in December 2000, doctors told her father he would not walk again.
"He was more than happy to prove them wrong," she said. ‘When he said he'll do something, he'll do it. He is a good friend, a believer in education and in giving back."