07/21/04 — Pope, Edwards are honored by Jaycees

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Pope, Edwards are honored by Jaycees

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 21, 2004 2:05 PM

One winner was described as being as old as dirt, and the other was just getting started.

Police Sgt. Ken Edwards and firefighter Jourdon Pope were honored Tuesday night by the Goldsboro Jaycees as the police officer and firefighter of the year.

Both were surprised with the awards that they received at the annual Jaycees appreciation banquet at St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Police Sgt. Ken Edwards and firefighter Jourdon Pope

News-Argus/Dennis Hill

Sgt. Kenneth Edwards and Jourdan Pope

Edwards, a 29-year police veteran, accepted the award, saying, "You don't want to see an old bald-headed man cry. I take great pride in this. I thank the good Lord for this. ƒ I hope I can live up to it."

Pope, who joined the fire department about four and a half years ago, said the honor was "a big surprise." He thanked everyone for it.

The keynote speaker, Steve Hicks, the president of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, said the public safety officers "were special people who don't just do a job -- you have a calling to do what you do."

Then Hicks repeated the Jaycees creed and noted that the last word in the first and last lines, coincidentally, was life. He said that's what these people were all about -- "not just saving and protecting lives but setting examples and building lives and people every day."

Edwards, who grew up in Belfast, joined the Police Department in 1975 as a patrol officer. He was promoted to corporal in 1986 and then to sergeant in 1989.

Police Chief Tim Bell said Edwards not only assigns the officers on his shift on what to do and where to go, but he also will jump in the middle of the action.

Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield, a previous award winner, said Pope exhibits pride and dedication in learning more about the fire service. He accepts additional training and responsibility and has completed successfully numerous classes to become certified in many areas.

Pope "continues to set the pace in developing his firefighter skills," Greenfield said, "and he works hard at fire scenes and other emergency situations."

Pope, who grew up in Wilson County, works on A shift at Station No.2 on Royall Avenue.

The awards were voted on by department employees. Bell explained that any police officer could nominate someone for the award and then a committee reviewed the nominations and selected the winner. Greenfield said each shift nominated a winner and then the entire Fire Department voted on the three nominees.

Growing up in Snow Hill, Hicks said he had first-hand experience with firefighters and police. At about 16, he returned home from the beach one day and saw his parents' home on fire. After calling in the fire, he heard the alarm, and then firefighters arrived quickly. But by that time, the fire was out. The chief said that was the best kind of fire call to answer.

Four years earlier, he was riding a bike and darted in front of a large truck. The driver slammed on the brakes, and a young Hicks sped up an alley, unharmed. When he got home, his father said the police chief wanted to talk to him. He got a stern reprimand.

"Those two people come back in my life," Hicks said.

Hicks finished his remarks by telling a story about a man with a bird in his hand. The man, a gambler, would ask others if the bird were alive or dead. If the other person said it were alive, he could crush it, or if the other said it were dead, he could let it fly away. But one old man did not fall for the trick. Instead, the old man said simply that the bird's life was in the gambler's hands.

"The life of every citizen is in your hands," Hicks said. "You come together and make life better. You do that every day. Each day you prove that in your service."

Mayor Al King concluded the program by saying he appreciated the work of the firefighters and police officers. He asked what would the city, county, state and nation be without them. He thanked them for an outstanding job in fighting the Memorial Building fire.

Jaycees President Debbie Pittman welcomed the group and gave closing remarks. Doris Pindell, who was in charge of the banquet, introduced guests. Beth Casey led the pledge, Michael Casey offered the invocation and Amber Hoggard led the Jaycees creed.