Willard "Doc" Howard is one of two Chula Vista residents serving the County of San Diego as a grand juror.
As part of the 19-member grand jury, Howard helps the jury collectively investigate citizen complaints and concerns then arrive at a consensus through a fact-finding process.
The retired U.S. Navy master chief petty officer has always involved himself with the Chula Vista community.
In a lengthy résumé of community involvement, the 72-year-old had been active in Crossroads II, the Chula Vista Police Senior Volunteer Patrol and just about every local veteran organization.
But sitting on the grand jury is one of the best ways to give back to the community, Howard said.
“It gives me an opportunity to represent every citizen,” he said.
The Chula Vista resident of more than 40 years always had it in his heart to be a grand juror.
He applied for grand jury services several times, only to withdraw his application because of unforeseen circumstances.
Howard insists now the time is right.
Howard’s grand jury commitment is for one year at $25 per day for four days a week. He joked that the best reward is having a reserved parking space.
All grand jurors started July 1 and the term ends June 30, 2014.
Howard said he likes the grand jury work, but wishes younger people would be more involved with the process.
“I enjoy what I am doing,” he said. “My only regret about it is that there are not more young people, and I could understand why.”
Howard said being a grand juror is a big commitment and that most young people are probably too busy to serve.
Howard said a younger person brings a different perspective when looking over cases and complaints.
“Sometimes younger people view things a little bit different than older people do,” he said.
He said he recommends being a grand juror at least once in a person’s lifetime.
Howard said once his term is up; don’t expect him to stop getting involved with the community.
“I’ve always been very active in the community,” he said. “If it is to benefit the community, I’m usually out here.”
He said his future plans may include running for the San Diego Board of Education, although he said he is still undecided. He also said he may apply for the grand jury again.
The other Chula Vista resident on the grand jury is Burma Dunn.