FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Vince Spaulding, 202-441-3589
Honors Past, Builds Future
Farmers Union resident, Ocie Jones, has been honored with the George Henry White Award, for his outstanding efforts to establish a community center to serve the people of Bladen and Columbus Counties.
“Congressman George H. White bootstrapped himself from his family farm in Rosindale to the leadership of our country at a crucial moment in history,” said Vince Spaulding, Project Director of the George H. White Memorial Health and Education Center. “Mr. Jones exemplifies the values Congressman White lived by—helping build a much-needed center for this rural community.”
Mr. Jones retired from INVISTA, a Wilmington chemical company, where he worked for 31 years becoming the Site Safety Supervisor and Safety Analyst. Prior to that, he served four years in the US Air Force as a Military Policeman. Since 2015, he has been helping restore an aging farmhouse that was donated to the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation to create a living memorial to the legacy of George H. White. With donations and in-kind services, the structure is being remodeled to provide a place where a wide range of activities and services can be delivered.
“Ocie Jones has been an outstanding ambassador and supervisor of many of the key initiatives for the project,” said Mr. Spaulding. “He started a Community Watch program (serving Farmers Union, St. James, Welches Creek) which patrols the property as part of the larger area. He has researched and hired appropriate contractors for the repairs and new structural work. He planned and implemented the landscaping, creating a memorial garden, rose garden, flagpole and regular lawn maintenance. He organized the installation of a water pump to deliver well water to the facility and built a pump house. He has also been the on-site spokesperson for the public officials, media and representatives of social service, historical and educational agencies that have agreed to partner with the center.”
“Thanks in large part to his constancy and hard work, the project has progressed steadily,” Spaulding said. “We are now in a big push to complete the vital last steps—HVAC, a handicap access ramp, electrical installation, and kitchen modifications to provide meals for local residents.”
“Once fully operational, the GHW Memorial Health and Education Center will serve as a multi-functional community center for the residents of Bladen and Columbus counties,” said Spaulding. “It will be used for civic meetings; SAT and GED exam preparatory classes; food pantry distribution point: public meetings on topics of interest to the community: workforce training; and an immunization site to name a few. In other words, this is a center that can be used by the entire community to help improve the overall quality of life for all citizens by providing easy access to information and services”.
“Ocie Jones embodies the servant leadership, social entrepreneurship, visionary action and family cohesiveness of the George Henry White Award,” explained Spaulding. “He has been tireless in building a place that serves the hardworking people of our community. Through his work, he honors the past, and he is building a new future. The legacy of George H. White continues through such outstanding individuals as Mr. Jones, and through the establishment of a center where resources can be brought to all the people.”
The efforts being led by outstanding residents of the Bladen and Columbus county area are attracting partnership and support from many sources. For more information on the project’s status and needs, check the website: www. georgehenrywhite.com.