A LEGACY OF SERVICE AND SUCCESS
Deacon received numerous awards for community work, particularly his work with youngsters and youth organizations. In 1997 he founded the Deacon Jones Foundation, acting as president and CEO. The Deacon Jones Foundation was established to assist young people and the communities in which they live with a comprehensive program that included education, mentoring, corporate internship, and community service.
Deacon had tremendous respect for the U.S. military. Following a 2004 trip to Iraq to visit troops stationed there after 9/11, he gained a new and deeper understanding for what they accomplished and endured. To extend his gratitude and respect, Deacon joined forces with General Tommy Franks to pay homage and lend support to the families of military men and women who had been killed or wounded in action. He made several visits to wounded warriors in military hospitals and began a special effort, in conjunction with the NFL’s then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, to bring some of those vets to Hall of Fame induction ceremonies as his guests. Many were also invited as honored guests to Deacon Jones Foundation events, where they were introduced and thanked for their service and showered with gifts. This was Deacon’s personal way of honoring all of his nation’s armed services members.
In 2009, Deacon’s number 75 was retired by the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. In 2013, the National Football League established the Deacon Jones Award to honor the annual league leader in sacks. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the creation of the award—the first in the league’s history to be named for a player—at Deacon’s memorial service at the Los Angeles Coliseum, attended by scores of sports luminaries, colleagues, and loved ones.