Jordan legacy continues

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 13, 2007

CONWAY – Nearly three decades ago a humble, civic minded Northampton County couple formulated a plan.

Little did they know that plan would still exist today and help to pay for the education of dozens of young people.

On Tuesday night, 18 Northampton County teens were bestowed the Jordan (pronounced Jur-den) Charitable Trust Scholarship at the Conway Women’s Club.

Courtney Beasley, Nicole Beasley, Joanna Boone, Jessica J. Bowman, Calvin Eugene Bradley Jr., Alexander Britton, Allyson Michelle Cashwell, Mindy Jo Drewette, Melody L. Futrell, Jacob Thomas Hargrave, Jewel A. Harrington, Lacey Hilliard, Douglas Murphy, G. Drewry Pinnix, Camilla Rook, Cola Ralph Vinson, Selena L. Walker and Brooks Ann Williford each received a $1,000 scholarship to their respective college or university.

The Jordan Charitable Trust was started by Rod and Gertrude Jordan.

Rod Jordan was a farmer who was raised in the Severn and Margrettsville area and Gertrude was a public school teacher from the Eagletown area.

“They did not have children of their own, but they both loved children and wanted to make sure their savings were used to help children in Northampton County,” said Mary Etta Flowers, who serves on the board of trustees for the Jordan Charitable Trust. “They decided to adopt everyone they could.”

In the 1980s the first two scholarships were rewarded as a test run for the trust.

Before the Jordans passed away in the early ‘90s, five friends (Elizabeth “Prince” Barnes, Frank Burleson Jr., Ben Mann, Guy Revelle Jr. and Linwood Ward) were selected to manage the funds for the trust.

“Because the Jordans lived modestly and rarely traveled, when the first five scholarships were awarded in 1994 there was $763,000 of start up money for the trustees to work with,” said Flowers.

For each year since, the board of trustees have selected recipients based on their grades and SAT scores, if they plan to attend a four year college or university and if they are a Northampton County citizen.

The scholarship is renewable meaning if students submit their transcripts showing they have kept up good grades the scholarship can be rewarded again for the rest of their four year educational career.

Two painted portraits of the Jordans overlooked trustees, students, parents and guardians as they dined and learned and told stories about the benefactors that contributed to their community.

Barnes, who is the only remaining original trustee on the board, remembered her friends fondly, especially Gertrude who served as principal and teacher at Severn Elementary School. She recalled how Gertrude would send her students to a local store to buy treats for the class—candy in particular.

“She did that with a lot of love and a lot of care,” Barnes said.

Trustee Sandra Woodard was one of Gertrude’s students at Severn Elementary School.

Woodard recalled her teacher’s firm but kind rule in the classroom by saying the class would have good days and bad days.

“Beneath those looks was a heart of gold,” she said about Mrs. Jordan.

“Remember the gentle and giving nature,” she continued to the crowd. “Don’t forget your years in school in Northampton County.”

Flowers reminded the audience about the humility the Jordans always displayed.

“Neither of the Jordans was showy or ostentatious,” Flowers told the crowd. “In fact, they would go out of their way to help neighbors by giving the food from their garden.”

Parents, guardians and even a guidance counselor showed their appreciation to the trustees and the Jordans.

“This is a wonderful thing,” said Emanuel Futrell, father of Melody Futrell. “I hope it continues.”

Mr. Murphy, father of Douglas Murphy, commended the students for their achievements.

“I’ve never been so proud of this group,” he said. “I’m thinking go. Keep going.”

Flowers said in all including the renewed scholarships and new recipients, there will be 62 scholarships given out this year.