In honor of Father’s Day, meet Marty Jones: one local dad who’s going above and beyond for his family and community.
Photos by Luke George Photography
What is it about Benicia that keeps so many people in town for decades? Is it the unparalleled views of the water, the unique downtown shops, or the schools? While answers will undoubtedly vary, some common themes come to mind. For Marty Jones, it’s a mixture of location and relationships.
“I get to be close to family and people that I grew up with, went to high school with, and developed relationships with—it has that small town feel,” he says. “I work a lot in the East Bay, and when I tell people I live in Benicia, I love it when they ask ‘where’s that?’ I always respond with ‘don’t worry about it,’” he laughs. “It also offers great proximity to industry, business, and everything else Californians enjoy.”
Jones, a St. Patrick-St. Vincent alumni, has been a Benician his whole life.
He took a brief hiatus from our tiny water town to attend Chico State, but he returned right after graduation—and has been doing tons for the community since. One undertaking has been serving as a volunteer member of the Economic Development Board to bring issues to light with the city and aid business owners in understanding what resources are available to them.
“I’m sort of a liaison between businesses and also city council/government, in general,” he says.
Though Jones has been a board member for six or seven years, Covid-19 times proved to bring extra challenges for business owners, and he was happy to do what he could to make things easier.
“It’s been quite an interesting couple of years,” he says. “I want everyone to know which programs to find help in, where to apply for grants, or how to get involved in different business groups that can help you network. What needs to be done to keep your business afloat? It’s one of those things that was a lot, but at the end of the day, you know you’re helping people.”
Jones, along with his wife Dana, has two kids: five-year-old Barrett and his little sister, three-year-old Dylan. Having children has opened up fun and nostalgic ways for Jones to experience the town.
“Obviously we love the staple events, like the tree lighting, the Third of July Parade, those kinds of things that bring the whole town together,” he says. ‘Those are things that not only my family, but also all my friends’ families, can enjoy together— it’s kind of neat. I went to St. Pat’s and all of my high school friends who lived in Vallejo…every single one of them now lives in Benicia. We all have kids, for the most part under 10 years old, and it’s been nice to see them be exposed to new things in Benicia.”
Aside from enjoying all of the annual festivities Benicia has to offer, Marty is also currently the head coach for the Benicia Little League Mariners.
“Both Dana and I grew up in sports and had parents involved in coaching; it felt natural for us to do the same thing,” he says. This first year of T-ball was quite an adventure—you can imagine a bunch of five and six-year-olds playing in the dirt. It’s a blast! They definitely enjoy their time out there. The past few years, they’ve all been starved for interaction and socialization. They absolutely love it.”
This journey has also sparked a passion in Jones to do everything he can to assist in the revitalization of our beloved Fitzgerald Field for future generations to come.
“When I was growing up, it was always Friday night baseball games at the field with everyone having a good time,” he says.
“Now every kid’s going out of town and traveling all over NorCal without ever getting to play at home. There really isn’t that type of environment where kids can have a similar experience that I did, so I work on an ad hoc committee with the city to raise funds and give this project the attention it deserves.”
Jones isn’t done with his goals for Benicia; though his current endeavors (and two young kids!) are keeping him plenty busy right now, he plans to be an active member of the community in various capacities for years to come. Whatever the future holds for Jones and his family, you can count on seeing them around town.
“We’ll be staying in Benicia for the long haul,” Jones says. “I appreciate the community that Benicia is—how people help each other, kind of in that ‘you know your neighbor’ type of situation. You just don’t get that in big cities. In Benicia, you know your police officers and business owners, and you develop relationships with those people. It’s definitely something I want to have in my life and want my kids to experience.”
Photos by Luke George Photography