Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a most exceptional California Inland Empire community leader, friend and great American--Mr. James Rees.
Calvin Coolidge, America's 13th President, once said, ``No person was ever honored for what he received; honor has been the reward for what he gave.'' And Jim Rees gave much during his years of military service and banking career.
With true valor and love of country, Mr. Rees voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army in 1942 and became an Officer in 1944. Like many other members of the Greatest Generation he served in World War II in both the European and North African/Middle East theaters. After the war, Jim returned to the United States and in 1948 enlisted in the Air Force. He quickly rose among the ranks and in 1957 achieved the rank of Major. Jim served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and in 1968 voluntarily retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He has been honored with numerous medals ranging from the WWII victory medal to the National Defense Service Medal as well as the Air Force Longevity Service Award with four Oak Leaf Clusters.
After a distinguished career in the Air Force, Mr. Rees established himself in Riverside and went into the banking business. He served the community with the same care and dedication he had served our country. An avid golfer, Jim was instrumental in the revitalization of the March Air Force Base golf course. Jim has also been active in the Strategic Air Command Group of Veterans and has always been proud to call himself a team player.
A love of country can only be matched by a love of family. Mr. Rees has four children, Christine, Susan, Laura, and David, five grandchildren, Amy, Jennifer, Jim, Ian, and Susan and great-grandchild, Samuel who all refer to him as their hero. No greater honor can be bestowed on a man who has selflessly and wholeheartedly served our great nation.
Mr. Speaker, looking back at Jim's life, we see a man dedicated to military service and community--an American whose gifts to the Inland Empire and California led to the betterment of those who have the privilege to come in contact or work with Jim. Honoring him today is the least that we can do for all that he has given over the past 80 years of his life.
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