A Big Thank You to Allan Jones

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsIt was almost seven years ago.

I was working at Grissom Funeral Home. I cannot remember if I was busy with a funeral or visitation. I cannot remember the exact time of the day. I just know I was at work.

My cell phone rang. I answered. The voice on the other end was one of which I was familiar, but had never personally talked to him before.

Allan Jones gave Mark an opportunity to get behind the mic at WOOP-FM.

Allan Jones gave Mark an opportunity to get behind the mic at WOOP-FM.

“Mr. Grissom…(the gentleman on the other end said in a deep, stern voice)…this is Mr. Jones. I would like for you to come and be the morning host on my radio station…WOOP FM”.

It took me about 5 seconds to put some words together where I could form a somewhat “proper” sentence and give this man an answer.

I knew from the very second he said “Mr. Jones” that I was speaking with the one and only Mr. Allan Jones.

I did not grow up in Cleveland. Those of you that have read any of my blogs have figured out by now that I am a “damn Yankee”.

That is correct. I said “damn”.

A “damn Yankee” comes down to the south from the north and stays. A plain “Yankee” comes down and eventually goes back home. You probably knew that already.

It took me several years of living in Cleveland and owning my own business before I actually even knew who Allan Jones was. Back in those years, he was the owner of the Credit Bureau in Cleveland. One of his main employees, Sarah Scoggins’, mother worked for me at Grissom Funeral Home… Mrs. Jo Stuart.

I had heard many stories about Mr. Jones. All good I must say. But never had the opportunity to meet him.

I remember seeing him at horse shows at Tri-State Exhibition Center back when his lovely daughter showed her prize horses and won most every class.

But my friendship with this great man started the day my cell phone rang and I heard….”Mr. Grissom…this is Mr. Jones.”

WOW!!.The one and only Allan Jones actually had my cell phone number. He not only HAD my number… he was actually CALLING my number!

He needed a disc jockey for the morning drive time on WOOP Radio, 99.9 FM on the local Cleveland dial, and all over the world on www.woopfm.com. He had heard me some years before that with Steve Hartline on WCLE and I guess I made him chuckle a time or two.

It is all volunteer. Nobody who has a part at WOOP Radio is paid. It is a non-for profit radio station. (I just wanted you all to know that so you realize I still depend on my job at Grissom Funeral Home.)

Over the past 7 years, I have not only come to know Allan Jones as a community leader, an incredible businessman, a loving husband and devoted father to his children. I have not only come to know him as a very giving individual and one of the sharpest minds I know.

But I have come to know Mr. Jones as my personal friend.

Most folks in Cleveland, Tennessee know him as the owner of Check-Into-Cash or the CEO of Jones Management or, most recently, the owner of one of Cleveland’s finest and oldest local industries… Hardwick Clothes.

What most folks in Cleveland do NOT know about Allan is what a giving person he is to our community.

The wrestling center at Cleveland High School, the aquatic center at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the many hundreds of thousands of dollars he has donated to education on the local and state level in Tennessee, the hundreds of citizens in our community who are gainfully employed because of the business opportunities Mr. Jones has provided. These are just a small amount of what all he has done.

I know first-hand how giving he is. There have been several times I have called upon him to be a sponsor of an event and he has never once said no. “In The Line of Duty Ride” for a motorcycle club to assist the family of a fallen police officer. My Alzheimer’s Marathon on the radio last year when he agreed to be our premier sponsor to help raise money to find a cure for the horrible disease that took my mom’s life and the lives of so many others… just to name a couple.

He does not like attention. I know this for a fact. He has told me himself he does not want publicity. He has done so much for so many… and chooses to remain behind the scenes and do things anonymously. (As a matter of fact…he may want to kill me for writing this blog about him!) I doubt it. He will have to forgive me just this once.

Mr. Jones, on behalf of this great community we call Cleveland and Bradley County, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

Mr. Jones, on behalf of the thousands of students that can attend college that would not be financially able to, and receive a higher education if it were not for your generosity, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

Mr. Jones, on behalf of all of the charities and civic organizations that have been able to do so much good with the funds that you have afforded them in our community, I say a great big “THANK YOU!”

And last, but by no means least,  Allan…for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to pick up your phone one day and call me and say “Mr. Grissom…this is Mr. Jones”…I say a great big…”THANK YOU…my friend!”

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