CI Hero: Canton man lives life of service, volunteers for numerous organizations

Ci Heroes

CANTON, Ill.– Veterans have risked their lives, even lost friends and family members, to preserve the freedoms we take for granted daily.

A Canton military man continually goes above and beyond in his community to inspire those to lend a helping hand.

Jim Watts is a man of service. There’s no disputing that. He’s put over 70 years into boy scouts. And over 50 years with the masons.

It’s only fitting that Jim Watts is this week’s CI Hero.



“Jim has always been very even tempered,” said Bill Riley, American Legion of Canton. “He’s very patriotic. He’s very dedicated to any cause that he gets involved with.”

You can take the man out of the service, but you can’t take the service out of the man.

“He just has this innate ability, want, desire to promote kids to be the best they can be,” said Wally Hammond, American Legion of Canton.

“If we need something done, Jim is one of the guy’s to step up.,” said Gerald Smith, American Legion of Canton. “There’s a difference between people that were drafted and people that volunteered. Once you’re a volunteer, you always volunteer.”

Every year, Jim Watts participates in the Canton High School Veteran’s Day program.

“We should thank all the veterans,” said Watts. “If it wasn’t for veterans, we wouldn’t be where we’re at today and we wouldn’t have what we got.”

But this one event is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Watts involvement. His American Legion buddies all agree he continually goes above and beyond to help anyone in need.

“He’s dedicated to the youth and to his family and to the people around the Canton area,” said Smith.

“I swear Jim knows everybody in town, and probably in Fulton County, and surrounding counties because of his involvement,” said Hammond.

“He’s light hearted but able to get things done at the same time,” said Riley.

Watts says it’s a complete honor to be selected as a CI Hero, but also says he doesn’t do what he does for the recognition. He does it because it matters.

“It’s all up to you,” said Watts. “You have to do it by yourself and you need motivation. Every organization I’ve gone to I’ve been motivated.”

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