by Gila Hayes
Long-time Network members will remember the Networking column from years ago. A play on words, the column’s title isn’t a noun, it is a verb that smilingly acknowledges the power of working together with like-minded folks to accomplish a common goal.
Network affiliated instructors have, from the Network’s very earliest days, been essential to introduce the Network’s mission to shooting and concealed carry class students and to explain why being part of our supportive membership organization is so essential for armed citizens. That outreach is important to us and to every member of the Network because the more well-trained, knowledgeable, and careful armed citizens we recruit into membership, the stronger the Legal Defense Fund grows. Outreach by our affiliated instructors puts us directly in touch with the armed citizens we want in the Network; the like-minded men and women with whom we want to associate.
Recognizing how much the Network affiliated instructors do for our organization, it is my hope that Network members will turn to their fellow Network members when seeking training, be that a skills update, mandated training for carry licenses, or to add new skills. Need to learn to run a new firearms platform like expanding from pistols to add rifle skills to your repertoire or get a tactical first aid, defensive knife or other survival class under your belt? I intend to introduce Network members to these affiliated instructors, and in this revival of the old Networking column, let’s reintrodue one of our very first affiliated instructors and meet one of our newest, too.
Our earliest flight of affiliated instructors included Jim Jacobe, owner and lead instructor at the Jacobe Group in Salem, Oregon. Jim was a fellow professional whom Network President Marty Hayes had become acquainted while hosting guest-instructed classes taught by Massad Ayoob. Recruiting Jim as one of our first affiliated instructors was a natural reaction. In the years that have rushed by since February of 2008 when he started telling his students about the Network, Jim has introduced thousands of new and experienced armed citizens to the Network as he has taught Oregon and Utah carry license classes, NRA instructor courses in pistol, shotgun, rifle, reloading and more. Jim is a valued resource and good friend to armed citizens in the Salem, OR area and to the Network. Check out his 2023 training calendar at https://www.jimjacobe.com/calendar.html .
In 14 years, we have had the privilege to share the Network with hundreds of affiliated instructors, some going back as far as our relationship with Jim Jacobe, who are no longer teaching and have converted over to rank-and-file Network membership, while others have moved on to other pursuits. Change is inevitable and we benefit by opportunities to meet and recruit new Network affiliates when new instructors start teaching classes.
Sometimes retirement from a life-time career opens new opportunities for use of force professionals, and when that happens, the community of armed citizens benefits by instruction from highly skilled practitioners. Last month, I enjoyed getting to know a Maryland member better when he asked about affiliating as an instructor for his burgeoning firearms classes. Network members and other armed citizens in the region within driving distance of Marion Station, MD will want to get to know Louis Esposito. After rising through the ranks to the position of Chief of Police at the Mansfield, NJ police department, Mr. Esposito retired, only to start a second career in law enforcement in MD, where he became a firearms instructor and worked as a detective, managing the narcotics unit and the sex offender fugitive unit for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.
Following his retirement from the Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Esposito continued his role as firearm instructor through his own business, Marion Training, LLC, providing the qualifications required for Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) participants, and he has branched out into instruction for private citizens, teaching the classes required for Maryland’s Wear and Carry permit, as well as teaching the Handgun Qualification License class. He’s a life member of the National Rifle Association, with a strong belief in the right of citizens to protect themselves. I love the pleasure he takes in expanding his own training résumé. He recently dropped me a line to let me know that he just completed the Victory First Red Dot Sight instructor class. It would be hard to find an instructor with more real-life experience to teach your concealed carry license class, and we look forward to hearing more as Mr. Esposito expands his classes for private citizens. For contact information, see his affiliated instructor listing on our website at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-affiliates/map/marion-training-llc .
With this fun introduction to one of our longest-standing affiliates and one of our newest affiliates, we’ve come to the bottom of the page. Tune in next month for more affiliate news and remember, the affiliated instructors listed on the geographically-searchable interface at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-affiliates/map are helping the Network grow and stay strong. If you have the opportunity to do some business with them, that promotes the “small n” networking that makes our big Network family the great organization it is.