On a blustery, cold December day each year, Jim Ault would stand at attention at Foster Park, honoring the soldiers who fought at Pearl Harbor.
And certain warm summer days each year, Ault could be found on a boat, teaching kids how to fish.
Ault was indispensable, in a way few can claim.
If there was a patriotic occasion, or if it was time for the Moose Carden Kids Fishing Clinic, Ault, who passed away Friday at 69, would be present, if not front and center.
“Nobody cared more about their country, their community and about kids than Jim Ault,” Kokomo parks superintendent John Martino said. “I mean, he was everywhere in this community.”
A decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Vietnam War, Ault served for years as commander of VFW Post 8035. He was a lifetime member of that post, as well as American Legion Post 317, the Howard County Vietnam Veterans and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 28, among other organizations.
The American flag was his passion, and he loved to teach the history of Old Glory, as well as proper flag etiquette.
“He knew all about the flag. If you had a flag that was tattered and needed to be replaced, he’d stop and tell you,” recalled Ault’s friend Bob Larsen, the quartermaster at VFW 8035.
“When it becomes an unserviceable flag, we treat it like it is a human, living thing,” Ault once said.
Most of all, Larsen said, Ault was constantly thinking of others.
“He gave a lot of credit to people where credit was due,” he said. “He was always looking out for somebody else, never himself.”
His selflessness, which extended to putting in huge amounts of time planning events like Military Appreciation Days, despite serious health problems, is why he’ll be missed.
“I really think it was Jim’s nature to reach out and help people in any way he could,” said Jerry Fivecoate, commander of DAV 28. “You would always see Jim at most of the veterans’ events in the community.”
Like most veterans who saw war firsthand, Ault didn’t talk much about his personal service.
“Those are all nightmares,” he said in a 2009 interview. “Like with most veterans, you try to avoid it. You don’t talk about it. What is important is [to] not let those veterans be forgotten and not take for granted those veterans today. Our freedoms are not cheap.”
Funeral services for Jim Ault will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home and Crematory, 1315 West Lincoln Road. Entombment will follow at Sunset Memory Gardens with military honors. Friends may call from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Online condolences may be made at www.stoutandson.com.