EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It was a meteoric rise that was entirely unexpected.
“This ain’t normal, this ain’t something that happens to people. Of course, I’m surprised,” said Linda Wolfe, mother of double-platinum pop star Khalid.
Wolfe can relate to Vurgess Jones, mother of four, including former UTEP star Alvin and his twin brother NFL Pro Bowler Aaron Jones.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought he would get drafted and he would be at this point in his life,” said Jones.
Linda and Vurgess have more in common than their famous sons. Both are career military women, they each served over 20 years in the Army before recently retiring.
Constant moves and deployments overseas were never easy.
“It’s very hard on your kids, and it’s very hard when you have to leave them. They’re resilient kids,” Wolfe explained. “They know, this is what my parents expect. If I start something, I’m going to finish it,” said Jones.
Khalid’s love of music was instilled in him by his mother, a member of the prestigious Army Band for 12 years.
“I was able to travel and do a lot of things as far as perform on the Red Square in Russia and in front of royalty in England,” said Wolfe.
Grammy nominations have rolled in since Khalid graduated from Americas High School in 2016. His mom is his biggest supporter and maybe his harshest critic.
“This is what I do, this is what I know how to do. I’m very honest with him when it comes to that, so the fact that I can say, ‘oh this is so good this is what I truly mean.’ I’m so proud of that. He’s really honed in on his gift.”
As for Aaron Jones, he’s become one of the top running backs in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and as a free agent this winter will command the interest of a plethora of teams.
“He’s doing his thing, it’s nothing but a blessing. He keeps working hard and it’s only gonna get better,” Jones said.
Vurgess has gotten to see Aaron through different eyes this past year — as her baby became a father to a baby of his own.
“It’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing because he’s the best father. He has to talk to him 5 and 6 times a day. I’m just so thankful and I get so overwhelmed by that because I’m so proud of him,” said Jones.
Mother and son have a tradition every time Aaron scores a touchdown — he always brings the ball back for his mom.
“The balls are like plugging in holes, meaning that the time we spent away from each other and the sacrifices they made and all the holes that I’m trying to fill in my life of times I missed with them, it’s just like plugging up holes that makes me feel whole again,” Jones told KTSM.
The Army may have brought both families to El Paso but the Sun City has become their home and now they’re giving back.
Linda heads the Great Khalid Foundation that provides scholarships, backpacks and other resources to local children. Vurgess is involved in the A&A All the Way Foundation that has done bicycle giveaways, football camps, and more.
When asked why they decided to retire in El Paso and give back to the El Paso community, both women say it was a no-brainer.
“The community has kept me here. We do so much to help this community, it’s best that I’m here to make those moves,” said Wolfe.
“We just want to make a difference, the foundation wants to make a difference in any way they can. That doesn’t cost them nothing. Why not do it?,” Jones explained.
It’s the strength of two mothers that continue to push El Paso’s finest to greater heights.
“I knew his potential, so it was up to mothers to make sure they’re on the right track,” said Wolfe.