McCrabb: 8 years after losing son, Marine’s mom continues Adam’s Hope

When Carolyn Jones Hibberd’s son, a corporal in the Marine Corps, was on his five deployments, she periodically sent him care packages from home. She’s a good mother, this woman.

Then on April 27, 2011, Hibberd’s world as she knew it came crashing down. Her son and youngest of four children, Cpl. Adam D. Jones, 29, a 2000 Valley View High School graduate, was leading his platoon on a night foot patrol when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

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Later that night, there was a knock on Hibberd’s door. She looked out and saw two Marines standing on her porch. They were there to deliver the worst news to any parent.

“I just knew,” she said. “You know. If your child is in the Marine Corps there is no reason for two Marines to walk up to your door in the middle of the night except to tell you they’re gone.”

His death “totally devastated” her and left her in deep depression, she said.

“Didn’t want to live,” she admitted. “There is nothing worse than losing a child. We are not supposed to lose our children. That’s not natural.”

Then the phone calls and letters from her son’s platoon started arriving. She needed to push the grief aside, just as her son would have wanted.

So she started Adam’s Hope, a non-profit that sends care packages to deployed troops. Even though she could no longer reach Adam, she’s working to provide a sense of home and comfort to hundreds of other military members. What she started doing for her son, she will continue for others.

Recently, the Middletown Elks No. 257 received two grants, Gratitude Grant and Anniversary Grant, totalling $3,500, and members, along with Hibberd, purchased items for the troops at the Franklin Walmart.

Melodie Rickard, a member of the Elks, said after shopping “you just left feeling good. It was very rewarding. She’s a wonderful lady.”

She said the Elks have supported Adam’s Hope before, but the $3,500 shopping grant was the largest donation.

“We spent it in no time,” Hibberd said with a smile.

What used to serve as Hibberd’s garage has been converted into a storage facility. There are metal and wooden shelves filled with microwaves, blankets, pillows, coffee, coffee makers, hygiene items, snacks, water, powered Gatorade, and packing supplies.

The items are packed and shipped to members of the military, those stationed in Forward Operating Bases. Hibberd has received hundreds of letters, cards, photos, and signed U.S. flags from appreciative Marines, sailors and soldiers. They have called her every year on her birthday, sent flowers, and some have even visited.

“They say there’s nothing like getting packages from home,” she said. “They tell me they’re so happy. It will make you cry. And I cry a lot. But it’s a good cry.”

There is no end in sight for Adam’s Hope.

“I never get tired of it,” said Hibberd, 71. “It’s my therapy. I love my boys. They’re my boys. They were Adam’s brothers. I’m all their mothers. I feel that way. I want to give his brothers all what they need. That would be Adam’s hope.”

Adam’s Hope has 10,000 Facebook followers and continues to receive financial support for supplies and shipping expenses, she said.

There probably never would have been an Adam’s Hope if he hadn’t volunteered for his fifth — and final — deployment. When he told his mother he was heading to Afghanistan, what she described as “a very bad place at the time,” she tried to delay his decision until it was safer.

“It did me no good,” she said. “We were losing a lot of military. I was very afraid, but he kept telling me, ‘I will be OK. I will be OK. Mom, those boys need help.’”

She tries not to second-guess her son’s decision.

“He wanted this,” she said. “He loved being a Marine.”

Her living room and office are shrines to her son. A wall in the living room is lined with portraits, pictures and proclamations, all testaments to her son’s military service and ultimate sacrifice. One shadow box contains numerous medals, including a Purple Heart, and there is a letter of condolence signed by then-President Barack Obama.

She was asked why she created a memorial to her son, instead of storing all the items in a cardboard box.

“This is Adam,” she said. “He deserves to be here. I want to look at him every day. This is my boy. This is what he did. He would be very, very proud of this.”

Proud of his memorabilia.

Prouder of his mother.

Cpl. Adam D. Jones posted this on Facebook on March 8, 2011. He was killed April 27, 2011 in Afghanistan.

“Lord, I ask you to watch over my Men as we go into the valley of the shadow of death. I know that the enemy we face is not only an enemy of America, but an enemy of Israel as well, an enemy of you Lord, so I know we are fighting for you. If it is your will that one of us from weapons Platoon should fall, please let it be me, and not one of my brothers. In your name I pray. Amen.”

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