Josephine “Jo” Holcomb Pike was one of seven children born to Essie and Dewey Holcomb. She was taught at an early age to share, work and play. She feels these early beginnings gave her the inspiration and initiative to continue sharing and helping others.
Her husband Billy Pike was a retired Army veteran when she met and married him in 1996. He was a member of Chapter 21, EJ Kirkpatrick Disabled American Veterans. He wanted Jo to join the DAV Auxiliary but it wasn’t until she retired from Piedmont City Schools in 2002, where she was employed for 21 years as the child nutrition director, that she joined.
She became an active member of Unit 21 serving in all the elected positions. Serving and helping veterans and their dependents became one of her passions. She believes veterans should be taken care of because if not for them “we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we hold so dear.”
Jo and Billy attended the state and national conventions together. She has served in all the elected state officers position. In 2011 she was elected as the Alabama State DAVA commander. To raise money to aid veterans’ causes, she compiled a cookbook, asking unit members from all of Alabama, to send in their recipes. The cookbook was a success netting over $3000.
Alabama’s DAV auxiliary has been successful in all their fundraising, Jo said. This is the fourth year she has been elected as the Alabama State DAVA treasurer. She said the state auxiliary donates annually to the five Alabama Medical Centers, the four Veterans Health Care Systems and the two veterans cemeteries. Donations this year also included the “Soldier Best Friend,” an organization that places animals with veterans with different needs. A facility in Birmingham that houses homeless vets which is called “Three Hots and a Cot” received a generous donation. Three hot meals and a cot to sleep on is provided for those in need.
While serving as state commander and attending the national convention in New Orleans, she was stunned when it was announced that her history book had won first place in the nation. She credits her history chairperson Nancy Brennan from Unit 18 in Guntersville for helping this happen. Jo said that Nancy worked tirelessly to ensure all guidelines were met.
Locally the EJ Kirkpatrick Unit 21, working along with DAV Commander Rick Freeman and his chapter, is well known for paying utilities bills, buying groceries, transporting veterans to doctors’ appointments and even buying new flags and presenting to Piedmont schools. Patriotism runs deep in all the members, Jo said.
She said anyone wanting to help local veterans can call her at 256-447-6916. She will be happy to pick up if necessary.
Jo was born in Trion, Ga. Her family moved to Spring Garden and her father started work at Standard-Coosa-Thatcher. She graduated from Spring Garden, married and started her family. She has two children, a daughter, Donna, who is married to Robert Jones, son Phillip Jackson.
Her grandson Joshua Jackson is a nurse at Riverview in Gadsden.
Billy and Jo were married 18 years before his death. After his retirement from the military, he worked for the Piedmont Housing Authority for 13 years. He was supervisor of the maintenance department. After he retired there he operated his own business B&M appliance until 2013.
Jo and Billy liked to travel and one trip Jo will always remember is their trip to Alaska. Billy showed where he had been stationed for many years as a young soldier.
Jo is a member of Plainview Church where she serves as the Women Ministries secretary/treasurer. Plainview’s Women Ministries makes the fourth organization of which she is secretary/treasurer.
“I guess everyone trusts me and thinks I am good at handling money”, she said.
Jo likes to work Sudoku puzzles in her idle time, which is rare. She’s not one to watch television. Giovanni
“Vinnie” takes up lot of her time. Vinnie is an 11 pound dog, all white and a mixture of Maltese and Havanese.
Jo and her sister Johnnie Williams of Jasper are the only siblings left in their family. Like Jo, Johnnie stays busy. Her thing is square dancing.
Years ago cooking was near the top of Jo’s priorities. Today it’s not. Her children have their own lives, so she’s able to prioritize other things in her life. One might say that being a member of the DAV Auxiliary is at the top.
She feels it is a way of honoring not only her husband and her two brothers who served their country but also a way to help and assist disabled veterans and their dependents.
“Church attendance is high on my important list also”, Jo said. “It keeps me focused on what is important in our lives.”
Contact Margaret at email@example.com
BAKED PINEAPPLE WITH CHEESE
20 oz. can pineapple chunks
½ cup sugar
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 T. flour
½ cup melted butter
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
Drain pineapple and reserve 3 T. of juice. Combine sugar and flour. Stir in the juice. Add grated cheese and pineapple chunks and mix well.
Pour into a quart casserole dish. Combine melted butter and rushed Ritz crackers and sprinkle over pineapple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until brown.
15 oz. can whole kernel corn
15 oz. can cream style corn
8 oz. sour cream
Box Jiffy Corn Bread mix
½ cup melted butter
½ cup chopped onion
Mix all ingredients and pour in a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
1 pk. Brock Chocolate Drops
1 c. peanut butter
2 T. evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Place first 3 ingredients in microwavable bowl. Microwave 3 minutes. Remove and stir and add pecans if desired. Return to microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir again. Pour in buttered dish. Cool before cutting.