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Jared Rutberg commits to service in newest endeavor
Jared Rutberg
Jared Rutberg gets sworn into office. - photo by Evan Newton

When it comes to new endeavors, Jared Rutberg is no stranger to them.

College graduate, Army veteran, business owner and elected official are all things that Rutberg has added to his resume over the years.

But now, a new endeavor has come across Rutberg’s plate, as the new East Ward, Post 3 representative on the Covington city council.

Rutberg has long been involved in the Covington community with his endeavors, but running for city council was something he was not planning on doing.

“The reason why I ran – and frankly I didn’t wanna run – I had been asked by a lot of people to run for a long time and I kept not wanting to do it. I kind of thought my season had passed,” Rutberg said. “Finally I did it because I felt we needed people that had been actively involved and understood our community – where it’s been, the history of it, where it’s going – and try to make sure we maintain the identity of our community.”

While Rutberg is a Covington resident by heart, his beginnings were up north.

Rutberg is originally from New Jersey, where he graduated from Henry Hudson Regional High School. He would then go on to attend Springfield College, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in physical education – receiving the Cum Laude distinction.

It was there at Springfield where he would meet his wife of 26 years, Jennifer. Together, the pair have three sons. The Rutberg family are all members of First Baptist Church of Covington.

Immediately after college, Rutberg entered the military, where he began a lengthy military career.

Rutberg served 8.5 years as an officer in active duty, commanding two companies with one in Korea during 9/11 and the other in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. He also served as a blackhawk pilot, jumpmaster and was a bronze star recipient.

The military helped Rutberg with a lot of things he handled on an everyday basis.

“Big things I learned [from the military] was planning, preparation, being able to set difficult objectives and then planning to go and achieve those objectives,” Rutberg said. “It also taught me a lot about perseverance and how to work in austere conditions or not the most comfortable environments.”

One of those times of perseverance, came when Rutberg was forced to miss the birth of his oldest son while he was out on deployment.

“My oldest son was born when I was in Afghanistan, so I didn’t see him until he was 4.5 months old,” Rutberg said.

Because Rutberg was part of the second rotation that was deployed to Afghanistan following 9-11, he was one of the first veterans to have a child during his deployment. The story caught wind of a local news station in Fort Bragg, who interviewed Rutberg about the situation.

According to Rutberg, the reporter in the area actually knew Rutberg’s wife, which would lead to the pair having a conversation.

“I said, ‘How’s Jennifer doing?’ and he [the reporter] said, ‘Oh she’s doing well!’ and I said, ‘Well how’s my son?’ and he said, ‘Oh he’s cute’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean, you haven’t seen him?’ and I say, ‘No, I haven’t seen him yet,’” Rutberg said. “So he goes, ‘Alright well we’re gonna do an interview’ and then they did an interview and they had me call on a SAT phone back to my wife.”

During his time in the military, he also got to meet a lot of celebrities. Among the celebrities he met were Roger Clemmons, Robin Williams, David Letterman – who Rutberg says gave him a cigar – Aaron Tippin, Bradshaw of the WWE, Kathy Griffin and Joan Jett.

But as time passed, Rutberg eventually left the military and moved to Georgia.

He first started as a project manager for Acuity Brands Lighting for two years, before deciding to move on to entrepreneurship.

In September 2005, Rutberg opened his own construction company JRJ Construction, LLC. Four years later, he opened up Kwik Change Lube & Service, LLC, a company he is still president of to this day.

Rutberg also serves as president of Covington Pro Lube and Economy Tire. He is listed as owner of R5 Holdings, LLC.

In addition to his business and military backgrounds, Rutberg also holds a lengthy political background, too.

Rutberg was formerly on the Covington planning commission for eight years as well as serving on the Newton County Schools System CTAE advisory board, president of the Newton County homebuilders association and a founding member of the Covington Municipal Airport authority.

But no matter where he served, it was always about serving the public.

“Everything I do is about service. Service is huge,” Rutberg said.

Now, Rutberg will look to take both his life experience and his service experience in moving forward with the city of Covington.

“We’re going to grow, we’re gonna evolve, but we have to do it our way, on our terms,” Rutberg said. “We need to make sure that everything is done to our benefit to the citizens that live here, first, because those are the ones that make our community. Those are the ones that chose to live here and we need to make it the best place we can.”