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Building a Community of Character continues into the New Year with a focus on "Responsibility" as the character trait for the month of January.

Responsibility means simply, "knowing and doing what is expected of me." Responsibility in the home includes directives for parents such as working diligently to provide for the family, accepting the challenge of making the household run as smoothly and efficiently as possible and working with children to develop skills to their greatest potential. Children have a responsibility to their parents to honor and obey them in their words, actions and body language.

Being a responsible person has many rewards including gaining the trust of others and having a good reputation. Often the willingness to go beyond the call of duty opens the door for increased responsibility, but when a person reaches out to his fellowman during a time of need, greater rewards than the efforts put into the task are often reaped.

Dede Blewer, president of The Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, announced recently that Orangeburg resident, the Rev. E.T. Jones, has been nominated as a person who most exemplifies Responsibility.

Jones, pastor of Bethel AME Church, Holly Hill, and staff chaplain at The Regional Medical Center, was surprised when he learned he had been chosen for the recognition.

"I am honored to be chosen as representative of the character trait 'Responsibility,' " Jones said. "I pray every day that God will mold me and make me into the best husband, father and minister and role model possible."

Affectionately known as "Rev. E.T.," Jones was nominated for the recognition by Tom Dandridge, president of TRMC.

"Rev. E.T.'s glowing smile radiates as he walks and when he talks to patients and their families, to the public and employees at The Regional Medical Center," Dandridge said. "He is a man that knows what is expected of him and always lives up to those expectations. He does an excellent job as a staff chaplain at TRMC in hospice and always strives to do his best at work."

Dandridge describes Jones as a dedicated father to his six children and is a devoted son to his mother.

"Although Rev. E.T. wears many hats, he finds time to give each of his six children encouragement, advice and most of all, fatherly love," said Dandridge. "His children are remarkably well-behaved, always displaying good, old-fashioned home training. They obey and honor their parents in word and deed."

Jones' devotion to his mother is a testimony of his responsibilities as a son.

"The Rev. E.T. has been devoted to his mother all of his life, and especially so over the last few years as her health has declined," Dandridge said. "He has assumed the role of primary caregiver for his mother, seeing that she receives the best of health care. He visits her daily to be sure she has received her insulin, is fed and clothed and most importantly, to give her inspiration that only a loving son with a special smile can do."

Using the Bible as his guidebook, Jones said that his work with those he spends time counseling is one way he can give back to the community a portion of the blessings he has received. He believes that God led him into the field of chaplaincy to minister to people in a unique way and to open the door for him to have a better understanding of what life is really about.

"A Hospice patient once told me, 'I hope you can help me make it in (referring to Heaven).' It was my blessing to lead him to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior," Jones said. "He received the Sacrament of Baptism in his home that Friday afternoon. As I left his home, his last words to me were, 'I believe I can make it now.' Working with terminally ill patients has taught me how precious life is. It has given me a better understanding of life as I have helped lead people on their journey from this world into an everlasting life."

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Jones also serves on the school board of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5. His commitment to making life in Orangeburg better for all is bolstered by the fact that he has six children, Ruth, Mary, Martha, Isaiah, Matthew and Esther, attending school in the district.

"This is a great honor for Rev. Jones and for Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five," district superintendent Melvin Smoak said. "Rev. Jones is deserving of this honor because he exhibits the character trait — Responsibility — every day in his personal and professional life. This character trait is especially important in the job he does as an elected official on the district 5 board of trustees. So, we in the district are especially proud and happy that he has been selected for this honor."

Jones stated he is firm believer in prayer and that when a family prays together it is a strong family. He challenges young people to work towards becoming responsible adults.

"If you desire to be a real man or a real woman of responsibility, dedicate your life to serving God and following his commandments," Jones said. "I believe that it is my God-given responsibility to be a blessing to others, at home, church and through my work in the community."

"The Bible says, 'A good name is worth more than silver and gold.' I desire to leave a good name for my children," Jones said. "Being a responsible person means keeping my promises and doing all my work to the best of my ability. It is my responsibility to be faithful to my duties, and when I fall short, I must strive to make things right."

T&D Staff Writer Sonja Gleaton can be reached by e-mail at sgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or by calling 803-533-5523.

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