Bill and Debra Jones honored with Tusculum Distinguished Service Award

Posted on 15 May 2017 by srichey@tusculum.edu

Bill and Debra Jones were presented the 2017 Distinguished Service Award during the spring Commencement exercises at Tusculum on Saturday, May 6.

The Jones’ were recognized for their service and support of Tusculum. The award was presented by Dr. Nancy B. Moody during the morning commencement service.

The Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual or individuals who have a history of outstanding support of Tusculum College. A video replay of the presentation was shown on Friday, May 12, at the President’s Dinner, which honors the college’s major donors.

Debra and Bill Jones, known better to hundreds of Tusculum students as “Mama and Papa Jones”, began the ministry now known as The SPOT (Student Praise On Thursday) at Tusculum Baptist Church in the spring of 2003.

“Thus began an amazing stream of love and support for the students of Tusculum College. SPOT ministries began with around ten Tusculum students gathering at the church for food and devotions on Thursday nights,” said Dr. Moody.

Following the presentation on Saturday, a few students stood, then all of the students were standing and then the entire auditorium was on its feet in recognition of the good works of Debra and Bill Jones. On Saturday, 47 of the graduates were participants of the SPOT Program.

The SPOT is now in its fifteenth year and hosts around 100 students each Thursday. “Mama and Papa Jones” provide parental-like support, encouragement and wisdom which so many students seek in the formative college years. Debra cooks homemade meals and leads the prayer request time, while Bill leads the Bible study and devotionals along with Tusculum Baptist’s Pastor, David Smith. The Jones’ have also, on occasion, served as a host family for students needing a place to live during a transitional time.

The SPOT has hosted approximately 365 gatherings in the past 15 years and they have served an estimated 22,600 meals. The Jones’ have also, on occasion, served as a host family for students needing a place to live during a transitional time. Bill Jones was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, and is a graduate of East Tennessee State University. He served as a teacher and then principal in the Greene County School System for 30 years. He retired from Doak Elementary School in 2000 and accepted the position of principal of Towering Oaks Christian School in 2001 where he served until 2008. Debra Jones was born in Albertville, Alabama, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. She moved to Greeneville in 1977 to accept the position of dietitian at Laughlin Hospital.

Bill and Debra were married in 1979. In 1986 she accepted a position with Abbott Laboratories as a pharmaceutical sales representative and worked for the company until her retirement in 2012. The couple has one daughter, Molly.  They are active members of Tusculum Baptist Church.

“Debra and Bill are truly feeding the stomachs, hearts and souls of Tusculum students,” said Dr. Moody. “With this commitment to love and support of the students in the Tusculum community, Debra and Bill Jones have made a significant impact. Their legacy will continue to impact the lives of students for many, many years to come.”

 

 

Bill and Debra Jones accept the Distinguished Service Award from Dr. Nancy B. Moody at the spring Commencement ceremony.

 

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