Jim Willis was born on one of the most infamous days in the history of the United States, December 7, 1949, the eighth anniversary of the attack and bombing of Pearl Harbor. The seventh of fifteen children of Rufus Odell Willis and Matilda Andrews Willis. His father was an Army Veteran and mother was a homemaker.
In September 1969, he was drafted into the United States Army at the age of 19. He chose Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) School and trained to be a Sergeant. For eight weeks following NCO School he trained troops until receiving orders for Vietnam. For the next nine months he remained with the 101st Airborne Division fighting for not only his life but the lives of his comrades among some of the most treacherous conditions and terrain known to man.
After settling back into life as a civilian, he re-enrolled in college and worked part time in the insurance business. He has worked as an insurance and real estate agent in Georgia for more than fifty years and currently owns Jim Willis and Associates located in Eatonton, Georgia.
He joined VFW Post 2872 in Athens, Georgia, in 1972 after returning from war in Vietnam. In 1977, he met his wife Beth on a blind date at a dance at the VFW Post 6686 in Eatonton, Georgia, her hometown. Over the next few years, he and Beth dated and married in December 1980. Their son, Alex, had a diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis and they knew his time with them was limited. Sadly, after a heroic battle with the debilitating lung disease, Alex passed away April 1981. For one of the first times in Jim’s life he realized what an empty, quiet home felt like and longed for the loud, entertaining hustle and bustle of family life. Within a year, he and Beth decided to grow their family with first their daughter Karen Elizabeth and then daughter Kristen Alexis.
In 2003 he joined the local VFW Post 6686 in Eatonton, Georgia. He joined and became Quartermaster for the Post. In 2016, he was elected as the District Commander and received All-American & All-State Honors for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
He was elected as the Judge Advocate for the Department of Georgia in 2019-2020 and is currently the Junior Vice Commander Department of Georgia. Throughout these elections and positions he has had the privilege to work with many other Veterans as well as their families throughout the state of Georgia developing kinships and often bonding over stories of boot camp and battles. It is his hope that he can advocate and serve those who have served America.