By Jeff Gallatin
Members of the “Jones Gang” past and present as well as a packed house applauded the selection April 25 of longtime community activist Randi Jones as the 2013 North Olmsted Citizen of the Year.
In addition to many members of the North Olmsted Community Council, which presents the annual award, being present, event organizers also managed to sneak many members of Jones’ family, aka the Jones Gang, into the North Olmsted Party Center without her noticing. Jones is normally one of the key organizers for the event, along with many other community activities in North Olmsted throughout the year. However, this year, other people handled the bulk of the work for the event – a fact which Jones said afterward didn’t make her suspicious.
“No, there’s always stuff to do,” she said. “But I’m impressed they got all the family members and the Jones Gang here. They even got my crazy cousin from Australia here. It’s pretty nice, and I really appreciate it.”
Jones said she was surprised by the award and enjoys all the community activities she participates in.
Current Community Council President Marie Peepers and 2012 Citizen of the Year Marilyn Ransom both said Jones is also appreciated by thousands of people for all she does for the community and many organizations.
“Whether taking on big or small tasks, our citizen of the year often says, this is fun, fun, fun,” Ransom said in her remarks announcing Jones’ selection. “This is a person who embodies the quote by Rabindranath Tagore, ‘I slept and dreamt’ that life was joy, I awoke and saw that life was service, I acted and behold, service was joy.’
A key member of the Jones Gang also played a role in the award. Even though he was not present physically. Randi’s husband, Edward – to whom she was married for 38 years – died Oct. 24, 2010. However, a letter he wrote about Randi was submitted by their son Brian as part of the nomination process.
“He wrote a lot of nice things about her,” Brian Jones said afterwards. “I thought they helped show the type of person she is.”
Brian noted that he and other members of the family always are finding people saying nice things about his mother.
“Everybody around town seems to know her for something she’s done or is doing for them,” Brian said.
A lifelong resident of North Olmsted, Randi Jones contributes to the city in the areas of school, civics and recreation, the award judges said in their remarks.
They cited her school work in a variety of volunteer work at Pine Elementary School, the North Olmsted PTA and the North Olmsted Alumni Association.
In the area of recreation, she was lauded for her wide range of work for the Cub Scouts of America, North Olmsted Cub Pack 204, the North Olmsted Hockey Club and serving as a North Olmsted Recreation Commission member from 2002-2007.