Nick Jones

Nick Jones has been selected as the Volunteer of the Month for March 2008 through the American Lung Association of the Southeast – Central Area.   In 1996 Nick was diagnosed with COPD, along with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and asthma.   He has had two heart attacks, four mini strokes, and five stents in his right coronary artery and has had a section cut out of his left lung. However, none of this slows Nick down.

Born in the state of Maine, Nick refers to himself as a maniac and when you get to know him and his passion for what he believes in, you just might agree! As he puts it:   "Born in Maine in a feather tick bed, he grew up to be short (underfed). When the oxygen flows up the hose in his nose, he turns into a virtual airhead!"

Nick runs two support group meetings for an average of 40 people at each meeting. Nick has been married to his wife Janet for 37 years and together they teach breathing and exercise classes and living well with COPD at Life Long Learning College in the Villages. His group, "The Airheads", has been named the Better Breathers Club of the year in Central Florida each of the last two years.

Nick is on oxygen 24 hours a day, but despite all of this has dedicated countless hours planning, implementing and executing The American Lung Associations inaugural Airheads Joyride, helping raise $14, 660. The Airheads Joyride fundraising event could be described as an Asthma Walk, but using golf carts. It was held at The Villages, one of the world's largest retirement communities with over 75,000 residents. Nick single handedly recruited over 40 individual groups to participate in the Joyride making it a parade consisting of over 500 participants including a marching band, an equestrian unit, clowns and belly dancers. There were over 250 carts in the inaugural event.

Nick also dedicates his time to the Airheads Better Breathers Club in the Villages. He is the vice president and "spark plug" for the group. The Airheads started originally as a COPD support group, but soon became a Better Breathers Club of the American Lung Association. The idea for the Airheads Joyride came about back in March 2007 through the efforts of the Sumter County Advisory Board for the American Lung Association of the Southeast - Central Area. Nick has served as the Chairman of the Board since its inception and continues to devote many hours towards its success in being able to implement American Lung Association programs in Sumter County Schools.

Nick truly loves people and is dedicated to helping those with COPD. He can't wait to get started planning for next years Airheads Joyride and looks forward to the many successes it will bring. The staff at the American Lung Association is very thankful for his continuing efforts and contributions toward changing lives, one breath at a time.