A lifetime of service: Veteran Jim Graham gives back through military service, career, Rotary volunteering
Compiled by Catherine Myers
Jim Graham, a retired Navy lieutenant colonel who lives in Brownsburg, has lived a life of service in business, community, the military and in international service.
He earned a masters degree in chemical engineering from Purdue, served for eight years in the Navy as a night fighter pilot when the Navy equipment makers first ventured into supersonic craft operation from the then new angled deck carriers.
Following graduate school at Purdue, Graham transferred from the Navy to the Indiana National Guard and converted to flying light planes and helicopters for another 20 years. For his service he has been inducted into the Purdue University ROTC Hall of Fame.
Graham is active in Rotary International and has served in many capacities, including acting as Governor of the Rotary District of Central Indiana in 2007-08. He has traveled in Rotary service to Syria, Jordan, South Africa and Afghanistan eight years ago and again in 2019 to pursue Rotary’s goal of polio eradication in the world.
Graham and his wife were the American parents of an Afghan baby named Qudrat who was brought to Indiana 16 years ago for open heart surgery by Rotary and the Indiana National Guard. For their efforts, they were featured in an October 2015 Rotarian article and also in the 100th anniversary issue in January 2011.
In civilian life, he worked at Eli Lilly, then as plant manager of a metallurgy plant, and for 20 years as president and founder of AGA Corp., a mid-size distribution company with stores in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville and Richmond.
Graham currently serves on the board of directors of The Indiana War Memorial Foundation.
As we thank those who have served our country in honor of Veterans Day, the ICON honors Graham as the ICON of the Month.
What do you consider your greatest virtue? My character, following Boy Scout laws and oath
What do you most deplore in others? Lack of open mindedness to facts.
What do you like most about living in Hendricks County? The people that I meet and have met
If you had to live elsewhere than in Hendricks County, where would it be? Pensacola, Fla.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? Be more involved in community activities
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? Give more to the charities that we feel are doing good in the community and world
What makes you happiest? Flying with my family to a vacation destination
What is your favorite vacation spot? Mackinac Island, Mich.
What do you do with idle time? Read and correspond with friends on email
What is it that makes you angry? False or made up information in the news media
What do you do to escape from reality? Read and travel with my wife of 65 years
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My wife and friend of 71 years, Roberta
Which living person in Hendricks County do you most admire? Dennis Dawes
What is the quality you most like in a man? Character and personal values
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Character and personal values.
What is your greatest extravagance? Formerly, it was flying, but now eating out.
What are your fears, phobias? None that I know of
What has been the happiest time of your life? When selected and training to become and serving as a Navy night fighter pilot.
Which talent would you most like to possess? To be a good teacher
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty and character
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Senator John McCain
What is your greatest regret? Not being a little bit taller
What tenet do you live by? The Boy Scout oath and law