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Emergency responders honored

AHOSKIE – For Edward “Ed” Jones, the road from a poor childhood to a successful career in law enforcement, and now in politics, was long, but well worth the ride.

Jones, the recently reelected 4th District Senator representing six northeastern North Carolina counties, spoke of his humble childhood and the goals he set in life as he was the featured guest at the annual Hertford County American Legion Post 102 Law and Order Banquet here Thursday evening at the Parker Veterans Center.

At the banquet, Post 102 members recognized four deserving individuals for their service to Hertford County citizens. Michael Barnes of Hertford County EMS was named as the Emergency Medical Technician of the Year; Murfreesboro firemen Billy Helms and Bill Harrison shared the Firefighter of the Year award; and North Carolina Probation and Parole Officer Lakesha Holley was chosen as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

The night was special for not only these loyal public servants, but for Jones as well. Prior to becoming a State Senator, Jones spent many years with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He is a former First Sergeant assigned to the Ahoskie office from where he was named as the Post 102 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2000.

“When I was given that award eight years ago, it brought tears to my eyes,” Senator Jones said. “It’s an award I still treasure today. It has a spot in my office in Raleigh.”

Jones told of his rise from poverty in Asheville to a senator’s seat in the North Carolina General Assembly He remembered his younger days, living with his mother and two other siblings.

“We attended church and were taught the difference between right and wrong,” Jones recalled. “We were also raised not to see color, even though it was easy to see the hatred between the races. Thank goodness we were taught to see through that hate and to judge others by what was in their hearts.”

Jones’ heart ached for service to others…he joined the Army (82nd Airborne Division) where he was a member of the Military Police. Even after he left the military, Jones still wanted to serve others. He became a Deputy Sheriff before joining the State Highway Patrol.

“It’s all about service, serving and helping people you don’t even know,” he stressed. “It’s also about putting your priorities in order. For me, it’s my God, my country, my family and my job.”

Banking on the values taught by his mother, Jones said service is giving people something they don’t have.

“You look past race…you look past money, it doesn’t matter if a person has a dime or $1,000 in their pocket, you treat everyone the same,” Jones noted.

Senator Jones closed his brief remarks by praising those who offer assistance to others through emergency response.

“I applaud you all, the firemen, rescue personnel and law enforcement officers,” he said. “You give of your time to help others, often leaving your families behind and having your loved ones worried, not knowing if you will make a safe return. That’s respect to others…that’s service to others. To those who win these awards tonight, keep the light shining bright so others can follow.”

Post 102 Vice Commander Herbert Lassiter presided over the banquet. Legion members William Reid, Johnnie Ray Farmer and Donnie Taylor added to the program. The Hertford County Firefighters Association Color Guard ceremoniously posted the colors.