Edley Jones’ honors are well deserved for his service to community

Published 11:11 pm Friday, July 31, 2015

Edley Jones is one in a million.

The 87-year-old Rotarian extraordinaire has compiled a record of service to his organization that has been recognized internationally.

The 60-year secretary of the Vicksburg Rotary Club has been a member for 65 years, serving not only as secretary but also vice president and president of the Vicksburg Rotary Club. His devotion to Rotary inspired Rotary District 6820, the district that includes Vicksburg, to honor him by naming its attendance award after him. Last week, he received an even greater honor, being named to the Rotary Heritage and History Hall of Fame, one of only 120 people who have ever received that recognition, and his photograph will be displayed at Rotary’s international convention.

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Former Vicksburg Rotary president Don Jarratt put Jones’ place in the hall of fame in perspective, saying there are currently 1.25 million members of Rotary International and there have been 4 million members of the 34,000 clubs in its 110-year history.

“The minimum requirement to get in the hall of fame is 50 years of formal service to Rotary,” he said. “And he’s (Jones) beaten that by 11 years.”

“It’s a very distinctive honor,” Rotary president Annette Kirklin said.

Jarrett said last year’s Rotary International president congratulated Jones on his 60 years of service while he was in Mississippi for the Rotary Club of Jackson’s 100th anniversary.

“He has the distinction of being congratulated by two Rotary International presidents in succession for his accomplishments,” Jarrett said.

Jones said he was shocked when he received the honor, adding he joined Rotary because his father and grandfather were members. His father, Edley Jones Sr., served as club secretary for 20 years.

Jarrett said Jones’ influence has kept the club going by bridging the transition of officers from year to year, adding he and Kirklin have relied on him to make sure the club runs according to plan.

The motto of Rotary International is “Service above Self,” and its four-way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Jones has served as a guide not only for individuals, but also for businesses.

The organization’s causes focus on six areas: promoting peace, preventing diseases, providing access to clean water and sanitation, enhancing maternal and child health, improving basic education and literacy, and helping communities develop.

Its members include business leaders, U.S. presidents, medical pioneers, Nobel laureates, philanthropists and the heads of state of foreign countries, all dedicated to making life in the world better for all.

Jones finds himself in a very select group of individuals, and his record of attendance and service to his organization and the community is something that deserves recognition, and that recognition is well-deserved.

“He is Rotary of Vicksburg,” Kirklin said.

And he is someone the community can look up to as a model.