Jones receives Chamber#039;s annual honor

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 17, 2006

Mr. Michael A. Jones was honored Monday evening, March 6, at the Crenshaw County Recreation Club as the 2005 Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year at its annual banquet and awards dinner.

&#8220When I think of Mike, I think of someone who is loyal, determined and works hard,” Glenn Daniel, who presented Jones with the award, said. &#8220I've never known him to be selfish because he's always looking out for others.”

Jones was born Dec. 4, 1947, to the late Watkins Jones and Mary Bozeman Jones. He and his wife, Debra Sasser, were married in 1986, and they have five sons, Jason Sasser, Greg Jones, Elliott Jones, Thomas Jones and John Michael Jones. They have five grandchildren, Katelyn Jones, Lacey Jones, Daniel Jones, Savannah Jones and Mitchell Sasser.

Jones is a 1966 Luverne High School graduate. He attended Livingston University and was employed by Alabama Farmers Coop. from 1966 until 1978. He then owned and operated the Chevron Station in Luverne from 1978 until 1988. He has been employed with Welchs Auto Supplies since 1991.

&#8220He is a man who doesn't make excuses or blame others but just keeps going no matter what,” Daniel said. &#8220Mike might get knocked down, but I've always known him to get back up and keep going.”

&#8220The best tribute I can give to Mike is this: if I had to go to war and could only choose one person to go with me, it would be Mike Jones,” Daniel said, as he presented him with the award.

After the award presentation and a wonderful steak dinner, the large gathering was entertained by the evening's guest speaker, Mr. John Croyle, father of former University of Alabama starting quarterback Brody Croyle.

Croyle, who played football for Bear Bryant, said that he had wanted to start a home for children since he was 19 years old. He and his wife take in orphans and needy children anywhere in ages from six to 18 at their Big Oak Ranch.

&#8220We've been doing this since August of 1974,” Croyle said. &#8220Just yesterday, we took 120 kids bowling.”

He and his wife presently have 101 youth living at Big Oak Ranch.

&#8220We've raised approximately 1,600 kids over the years,” he said.

Croyle explained that growing up in a home for needy children is all his children, Brody and daughter Regan, have ever known.

&#8220It's absolutely great,” Croyle said. &#8220Of course, there are the bad times. I've had my personal car stolen 29 times.”

Croyle, who sees himself as &#8220a tool in God's toolbox,” focused on how important it is to live a fulfilling life.

&#8220Life is all in how you approach it,” he said. &#8220It is way too short to be miserable and to walk around whining about things.”

He explained that there were three basic ways to approach life. First, many people, he said, simply endure life.

&#8220They just do what they have to do to make it through another day, and that is so sad. That's a waste.”

Next, there are those who do enjoy life and who try to find happiness and joy.

&#8220However, the most important group are those who live an enriching life, a life that touches others,” Croyle said. &#8220Are you giving your life to others? If you were at work and someone walked into your store, would you look at that person and see him as just another customer or as possibly a new friend? It's all according to how you look at life.”

&#8220The richest people I know are those who give their lives away to others,” he said.

After several humorous anecdotes, Croyle ended his inspirational speech with what he called the &#8220seven keys to manhood.”

&#8220I've taught Brody these keys, and I think everyone should know them.”

Using the word &#8220manhood” as an acronym, Croyle explained the seven keys.

He said that the first key was to know that Jesus is your &#8220Master.”

&#8220Next, you need to ‘ask' the Lord for what you need and be willing to listen for the answer,” he said.

The next keys included

&#8220never compromising,” knowing how to &#8220handle” one's own business, and having &#8220one” purpose in life, which, according to Croyle, should be to please the Lord.

&#8220Next, we only have ‘one' body to give, so we need to take care of it,” he said. &#8220And, finally, ‘don't' ever give up, no matter what.”

&#8220Again, I'm just a tool in God's toolbox, and I remind myself to just be a hammer. Then, every problem can look like a nail, and I'll know that I can handle it.”

Croyle congratulated Mike Jones for the honor being presented to him during the evening and thanked the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce for having him.

Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce President Sal. Lee Sasser, President-elect Jeff Adams and Executive Director Sherri Richburg were in charge of the evening's festivities.