Sam Jones, of Glouster, was recognized by Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area and Heritage Ohio with the inaugural Sam Jones Model Citizen Award at the 7th Annual Appalachian Heritage Luncheon in the Ohio Statehouse.
Jones was recognized for being a role model for citizens of all ages in Trimble Township and Athens County for more than a half century. Sam’s Gym on High Street in Glouster has been an alternative for young people to come in off the street and become involved in activities that not only keep young people out of trouble but help them build strength and moral fiber. Jones has endeavored to guide young people to become ‘champions in life.’
Training in boxing, kick boxing, martial arts, and self-defense have been the avenue that many have taken as an alternative to other far worse options in a community struggling through difficult economic times for decades. Many of the participants, male and female, went on to participate in Golden Gloves competition and have become leaders themselves. According to Jones, “this is not about fighting, it’s about building character and it’s about sportsmanship.”
Jones also initiated the Boxing for Books annual fundraiser in the mid 1970’s. He has created an opportunity for people of all ages, not to fight each other, but to fight for the schools. For more than forty years, with a ‘safety first’ approach, Jones’ has helped raise more than three quarters of a million dollars for books in the poorest school district in the State of Ohio. In the process he gave children and young adults the opportunity to help raise the money.
While taking young people off the streets and challenging them to better themselves and their community, Jones has been involved in ‘Coats for Kids’ programs, Cancer awareness efforts, and other community support activities. The Sam Jones Model Citizen Award will be presented at the Annual Appalachian Heritage Luncheon to future nominees of merit.
In addition to Sam Jones, other organizations recognized for their efforts in heritage preservation and development include Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad in Athens County, New Straitsville History Group in Perry County, Adena Health Care in Ross County for restoring the historic Carlisle Building after a damaging fire in 2003, Appalachian Ohio Alliance in Hocking County for land conservation, Dr. John Mattox at the Underground Railroad Museum in Harrison County, Murphin Ridge Inn founder, Mary Crosset in Adams County, Welsh American Heritage Museum in Jackson County, and Zoar Historic Village in Tuscarawas County.