SPARS Alice “Jo” Lawson

2017-11-21 Lawson

As World War II was coming to a close, Lawson enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS, a women’s reservist unit. Lawson said, “I thought that was an adventure and it was.”

She would spend two years with the Coast Guard, working at a Navy Air Station Operations Office. Following that time, she’d continue living a life of adventure. “Some people go out and play golf or play tennis or whatever, and I went out to the little airport and learn how to fly,” said Lawson. It would be a few years later before returning to her hometown of Aledo.

Eventually she got married and had a family, but she had the most significant impact in her seventh-grade social studies classroom, going on to help shape other women who serve. “A remarkably positive energy,” Col. Ryan. “Whatever life throws at her, she hits it head on and does it with a smile on her face.”

And while short in stature, her influence looms large. “I wasn’t just there to teach the capitals of every state and what was in the book.” Lawson said, “I was there to teach them to be good citizens and all that jazz.” Lawson has also been involved with the Mercer County Mental Health Board and an organizer for the food shelf.

Aledo surprised her with a special recognition at their Veteran’s Day ceremony this year. They built a statue in their Armed Forces Memorial Park to recognize the service of women, and they chose Lawson as their surprise guest of honor. Aledo Police Department Lt. Nick Seefeld said, “I don’t think the women have gotten the recognition or the honor that they deserve for being in the armed forces, and this is a real daily reminder that not only are there men serving but there’s women out there putting their life on the line for our freedom too.”

We honor you, Alice Lawson.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @OurQuadCities.com)

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