Sam Jones Honored at Ohio Statehouse
Sam Jones, of Glouster, was recognized by Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area and Heritage Ohio with the inaugural Sam Jones Model Citizen Award at the 7th Annual Appalachian Heritage Luncheon in the Ohio Statehouse.
Jones was recognized for being a role model for citizens of all ages in Trimble Township and Athens County for more than a half century. Sam’s Gym on High Street in Glouster has been an alternative for young people to come in off the street and become involved in activities that not only keep young people out of trouble but help them build strength and moral fiber. Jones has endeavored to guide young people to become ‘champions in life.’
Training in boxing, kick boxing, martial arts, and self-defense have been the avenue that many have taken as an alternative to other far worse options in a community struggling through difficult economic times for decades. Many of the participants, male and female, went on to participate in Golden Gloves competition and have become leaders themselves. According to Jones, “this is not about fighting, it’s about building character and it’s about sportsmanship.”
Jones also initiated the Boxing for Books annual fundraiser in the mid 1970’s. He has created an opportunity for people of all ages, not to fight each other, but to fight for the schools. For more than forty years, with a ‘safety first’ approach, Jones’ has helped raise more than three quarters of a million dollars for books in the poorest school district in the State of Ohio. In the process he gave children and young adults the opportunity to help raise the money.
While taking young people off the streets and challenging them to better themselves and their community, Jones has been involved in ‘Coats for Kids’ programs, Cancer awareness efforts, and other community support activities. The Sam Jones Model Citizen Award will be presented at the Annual Appalachian Heritage Luncheon to future nominees of merit.
“Sugar” Ray Seales
He was the only American boxer to win a gold medal in the 1972 Summer Olympics. As a professional, he fought middleweight champion Marvin Hagler three times. He is also the former NABF and USBA middleweight champion.
Later in his pro career in 1980, Seales injured his left eye in a fight with Jaime Thomas and retired due to a serious retinal tear. He was subsequently declared legally blind. Years later, doctors operated and restored Seales’ vision in his right eye, though he wears glasses.
Seales is applauded for working with autistic children at Lincoln High School in Tacoma for 17 years. He retired from that position in 2004.
“I would teach them independence, living skills, how to change clothes, cook, wash, separate wash and all sorts of other things. They learned from me but it was more of an honor for me to learn from them”.
Being a fighter by nature and a teacher by vocation and a man of great faith Seales never allowed himself a temporary respite by wallowing in self-pity.
“It ain’t my will to be a blind man sitting in the dark, I give efforts that He wants to give me. I’m always putting my feet forward, I’ll always do that.