When I first met Bill Jones, I was sruck by one thing — man, this guy could talk.
That’s quite a statement coming from a champion talker like me. I can talk for hours. I once even had a job where I got paid for talking for three hours straight as the host of radio show in Sikeston.
I’ve talked myself into and out of more trouble (usually into) in a single weekend than most folks see in a month. I have opinions on everything and I’m not afraid to share them. Trust me when I say I recognize a kindred spirit.
Over the past three years, I’ve had occasion to visit with Bill — or “Major” as he’s called around the Perryville Police Department — usually in the context of an interview or a fact-checking phone call.
On most of those occasions, our conversations always end up the same way, with us sharing stories and laughs.
During those talks, I’ve learned a lot about this man, both from his stories and from watching how he interacts with other people. And he does a lot of that.
Bill has served the citizens of Perryville for more than 30 years as every kind of first responder imaginable, from EMT and paramedic to assistant fire chief, from part-time police officer to assistant chief and emergency management director.
He’s also a man of faith, serving as an elder at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Above and beyond all this, I’ve learned that he’s a truly good man, one who works hard and expects those who work with him to do the same. He’s skilled and knowledgeable and always ready to lend a hand.
A couple of weeks ago, Bill received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Perry County Community Foundation. I can’t think of a better, more deserving recipient.
Last week, in a story about the banquet, I poked a little fun at Bill, who said the award left him ‘speechless’ before giving a nearly 15-minute acceptance speech. In typical fashion, Bill had an answer ready for me.
“Imagine how long it would have been if I did have a speech.”
Robert Cox is an award-winning columnist and managing editor fo the Republic-Monitor. He mey be rached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-547-4567.