December 9, 2015 Edition

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LMH Foundation honors Jones

Wilma Jones (center) has been named the Lawrence Memorial Health Foundation's 2015 Special Advocate. State Rep. James Ratliff (left) and Lila Floyd, representing the foundation, made presentations to Jones.
TD Photo ~ John Bland

Wilma Jones of Minturn has been named the 2015 Special Advocate by the Lawrence Memorial Health Foundation. She was honored Friday night during the foundation's Christmas Gala held at The Studio in downtown Walnut Ridge.

In presenting the award, Lila Floyd, board member of both the foundation and Lawrence Health Services, shared highlights of Wilma's life and service. State Rep. James Ratliff also presented her with a legislative citation, also recognizing her service to the hospital and its various entities.

Floyd began, "Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary offers three definitions for the term leadership. The first definition is the office or position of a leader; second is the capacity to lead, and lastly, the act of leading. All three of these definitions describe our 2015 Special Advocate recipient this evening."

Wilma was born near Smithville and graduated from Lynn High School and later sought higher education at Arkansas State University. She and her late husband, Charles, met and married and began the process of building their farming operation and raising a family in the Minturn area. A son, Larry, came first with two daughters, Jackie and Mary, to follow.

"Hard work and perseverance, I am sure, were two guiding forces in their young lives due to just the general economic conditions of the time," Floyd said.

While raising her children, Wilma became a postmaster at College City and held that position for 11 years. In 1963, she began a career with the Department of Human Services and eventually became administrator for Lawrence County.

During her tenure with DHS, she was instrumental in establishing the Lawrence County Resource Council, which evolved into the Lawrence County Food Bank, Meals on Wheels program for the elderly and eventually the Single Parent Scholarship program.

She served DHS for over 28 years, "always searching and researching for ways to help young mothers with children and the elderly," Floyd said.

She served as mayor of Minturn for three different terms and for many years has served and continues to serve as the city recorder/treasurer.

Jones has attended the Hoxie United Methodist Church for many years and is a member of the United Methodist Women. She sings in the choir, and when needed, serves as the backup organist. She also serves as secretary of the church board.

She has been a member of the Order of Eastern Star for over 50 years and has served as grand organist. She has been active in the Business and Professional Women's organization and Beta Sigma Pi, a women's sorority. She is a past member of the Black River Area Development Board of Directors, where her experience with DHS was invaluable.

During all this time, Wilma has remained an active partner in her family farming operation with her son, Larry, and now her grandsons, Andrew Jones and Eric and Landon Hearnes.

For almost 20 years, she has served as a member of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Lawrence Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Board of Governors. She currently serves as president of the LMH Foundation.

(Note: A fourth grandson, Adam Skinner, lives in Northwest Arkansas and is a fireman. Two great-granddaughters round out her family.)

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