Mason Montague wonders when Theodore A. Jones, Sr. sleeps. As chairwoman for the Burke Award Committee, she knows about the many things that he's already accomplished in his lifetime.
"It was a lot of fun to read through those glowing recommendations. With your schedule, you must have boundless energy," said Montague.
She was referring to the recommendations that accompanied the entry of Jones' name as a candidate for the 2004 Burke Award, sponsored by the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross. Jones was selected as this year's recipient.
Now in its 24th year, the Burke Award is presented every year in honor of Esther Dashiell Taylor Burke, the founder of the Alexandria chapter. The award recognizes a volunteer who has contributed outstanding philanthropic and humanitarian service to the Alexandria community.
The first recipient of the award was Elizabeth-Anne Campagna; more recent recipients include Joan and Donald Burchell, Jane Lee and Carlyle Ring, Jr.
Among other things, Jones was recognized for founding of The Untouchables in 1988, a club for male youth supported by male adult coordinators that has been in continuous operation since 1988. This group of young men meets once a week to discuss issues of concern to members. They resolve to be untouchable to negative peer pressure, drugs, crime and violence. The youth also partake in education and charitable activities.
JONES IS INVOLVED in Young Successful Stars, another group for male youth. Students from T.C. Williams and Minnie Howard School meet twice weekly to discuss current events and take field trips.
Another program Jones is involved in is the Players Club, a male youth group based at his church, First A.M.E. Through this group, he helps young men to develop as balanced individuals physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Jones also works with the Close-Up Foundation, where he speaks to young people from around the world about teen grassroots organizations.
Approximately 75 people came to the celebration that was held at the Red Cross headquarters. Jones' wife, Zella, was there, as were their two children, Cornell and Theo. Also included in the audience were members of Alexandria City Council.
The Rev. Charles Glover gave the invocation, while The Rev. Derrell Wade gave the benediction. Mayor William D. Euille spoke about how he started volunteering at the Red Cross when he was 11 years old. He encouraged everybody to volunteer, give blood and/or donate money. He congratulated Jones for his work with youth.
Albertha Gray, president, Friends of the Untouchables, spoke, and then Bryant Mitchell, chairman of the board, Alexandria Red Cross, presented Jones with his award. Hunt Burke talked about the history of the award and showed a film featuring past recipients.
Perhaps Burke's words summed it up best when he said, "Mr. Jones, you're too young to have done all the things you've already done in your lifetime."