Jones set fine example with work ethic, dedication

Published 1:13 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

Troy Jones, Esther Jones, and Debbie Grissett.

Troy Jones, Esther Jones, and Debbie Grissett.

The Andalusia Kiwanis Club held its annual banquet more than a month after its originally scheduled December date – a move club members made after one of their more active members died unexpectedly.

For the past two years, Rex Jones has lived, eaten, breathed and slept Kiwanis Covington County Fair as chairman of the annual event. My personal civic affiliation is with Rotary, but I was honored to work closely with Rex, as the newspaper produces a fair tab every year.

At random times of the year, Rex would pop into the newspaper office to tell me the latest thing he’d dreamt up for the fair, or what we might need to change for the next edition. When Kiwanis President Debbie Grissett recognized him posthumously Monday night, she said, “Rex took it seriously.”

It might have been the understatement of the year.

I don’t know many people who do details like Rex did.

Rex’s wife, Esther, and one of his sons, Troy Jones, accepted the appreciation plaque the club had planned to present to Rex in December.

“Since Daddy’s not here to talk for himself, I’ll say a few words,” Jones said. “Daddy loved hard work, and he was all about it. He liked helping other folks, and he especially liked your projects that helped kids. “Sometimes he took over more jobs in Kiwanis because he thought he could do it better than y’all, and I’m not kidding about that,” he quipped. “But he loved Kiwanis, what Kiwanis stood for. Took a sense of pride in it, and gave (the project) all he had. I hope he left that mark on y’all. I know he left it on me.”

In the midst of planning for the 2015 fair, Rex had also taken on another task: Raising private money for renovations to the athletic facilities at Andalusia High School. Rex didn’t graduate from Andalusia, but his grandsons will.

Talk about details? Before he retired, Rex worked with the Alabama Department of Education. He literally wrote the legislation that allows this project to take place. There’s no doubt he thought he could implement it better than anyone else. It was the project he was working the day before his sudden death.

With his actions, Rex reminded all of us who were privileged to work with him that any job worth doing was worth doing right, and we’re obliged to work hard at any job we accept.

He will be missed.

Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.