Award honors tradition of service

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Community service runs in the family for Farmville businessman Edgar Jones. Last week Jones received the Farmville Lions Club Lynwood B. Smith award for community service established in honor of his wife’s grandfather.

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Jones grew up with a strong work ethic helping his father and grandfather in the family business.

“My dad Dempsey Jones and granddad Hoyt Jones started the Western Auto in Farmville in 1972 and ran it until 1997,” Jones said.

Jones also worked as a dark room technician for The Farmville Herald in high school.

After graduation Jones went to Virginia Tech, where he received a degree in communication studies and marketing in 2002. He also acquired a wife his senior year, Erin Smith, also of Farmville.

The couple returned to Farmville, where Jones worked for BB&T six years before starting his own business with State Farm. The Jones family now includes four boys, ages 2 to 12.

“As with any young professional, you look for the organizations you’re going to be a part of,” Jones said.

That decision was easy, Jones noted, because of the example set by his wife’s grandfather, Lynwood “Linnie” Smith.

“Linnie was the epitome of the Greatest Generation,” Jones said. “After World War II, he and his brothers started their business, Smitty Brothers, from nothing. He was a great role model, and I was fortunate to have married into the family. He was another


grandfather to me — a lot of good memories.”

Linnie joined the Lions Club after his retirement in 1985.

“He was not the most visible person in the organization, but he was willing to volunteer and put in a lot of hours,” Jones said. “When Linnie passed away, the Lions created an award in his honor for the Lion who does the most behind the scenes.”

Jones followed a similar path when he joined the Lions Club.

“Edgar has a big family and a business to run,” Farmville Lions President Darrell Person said. “But he’s always there when we need him to run the golf tournament every year. He is more than deserving of this award.”

“My involvement with Lions has been the tournament,” Jones said. “It’s named after another Lion, Louis Bridgforth. I’ve been chairing the event, set for Sept. 9, for the last seven years.”

A major fundraiser for the Lions Club and primarily billed as a fun event, the tournament does offer incentives.

“Every year Haley’s provides us with a new car to give away to the golfer who makes a hole in one,” Person said. “Other top golfers receive a cash award which they can donate to the charity of their choice.”

Proceeds from the tournament help Lions fund such local charities as STEPS, scouting, Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity.

“The best part of the tournament is being out there with friends,” Jones said. “Generally we raise four to five thousand at this event.”

Providing glasses for those in need, Jones believes, is another worthwhile project of the Lions. This year Lions are providing glasses for a local mission team to Honduras.

“I like to think of the families that will benefit from our work here,” Jones said. “It’s nice to have a global impact.”

That, Jones believes, is community service at its best.

Reflecting on his award, Jones credits the service mentality he developed at an early age.

“I went through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts,” he said. “With every badge you’re doing projects in the community that are all for other people. Now I see my own boys coming up through the same Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack — that’s really special. I’m very active in Cub Scout Pack 6296 helping boys move up to Boy Scout troops.”

An active member of Heritage Baptist Church, Jones sees his faith as a continuing reason to serve.

“Jesus is my ultimate example of service,” he said. “My faith is very important to me.”

Jones hopes to continue the example set by Lynwood Smith.

“It makes you think as you get older — what’s my legacy going to be,” Jones said. “It makes you try your best to leave a similar legacy.”