02/20/09 — Mount Olive Chamber and Jaycees honor local leaders

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Mount Olive Chamber and Jaycees honor local leaders

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on February 20, 2009 1:46 PM

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Kristal M. Jones talks Thursday night with Sandra McCullen and Kenneth Talton after receiving the 2009 Distinguished Service Award at the third annual Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees membership banquet and awards ceremony.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Kristal Jones smiled through her tears as she took the stage Thursday night at the third annual Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees membership banquet and award ceremony.

"This is not why I was here tonight. Lynn Williams knew I would cry," she said, after Mount Olive mayor pro-tem Kenny Talton presented her with the 2009 Distinguished Service Award.

Mrs. Jones was one of the Mount Olive area citizens recognized for their outstanding contributions to the community.

The award recipients "grew where they were planted," said Tyler Barwick, president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce.

"Through all of the events of their lives, they have blossomed," she said.

Mrs. Jones thought she was attending the ceremony to support a friend.

"I am so honored to be in a room with so many distinguished people. I feel very humbled by this, and thank you very much," she said.

Described as a "doer" with "a heart for children," the Mount Olive businesswoman, wife, mother of two and member of the Presbyterian Church is active in the Mount Olive Jaycees, the Southern Wayne County Business and Professional Women, the Young Farmer and Rancher Program and her church's Christian Education program.

The East Carolina University graduate is co-chair of the Carver Elementary Readathon and managing partner of Smith Chapel Supply and Ag Services, Inc., a business she and husband Tony Jones launched in 2004. The couple have two children, Carter, 11, and Cathryn, 8.

Mrs. Jones wasn't the only recipient tricked into attending by well-meaning loved ones.

"My family fooled me. My wife told me her father would be getting the award," said Town Manager Charles Brown, who received the Lillien B. Langley award for service to the Chamber of Commerce

Dr. William J. Byrd, president of Mount Olive College, received the Boss of the Year Award.

Byrd said he has had the privilege of working with committed and talented people in his years at MOC, and was honored by the award.

"It gives you a feeling that you made a contribution in people's lives. That certainly is gratifying," he said.

Wilson K. Lewis Sr., known to many friends and family as "Hootie," received the Outstanding Senior Citizen award for his dedicated community service.

The 89-year-old has been a member of the Mount Olive Rotary Club for 66 years, previously held the office of president and has served on the club's board of directors. He is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Mount Olive, volunteers with the Read to Succeed program at Carver Elementary and still works at least one day per week at local pharmacies.

Carver Elementary fourth grade teacher Robin L. Casey received the Outstanding Young Educator award.

Firefighter and certified EMT Jordan D. Hansen received the Outstanding Young Public Servant Award.

Spring Creek High School senior Rexford Tracy Price received the Outstanding Teenager Award.