Warren recognizes Ford’s efforts with Samuel Jones Pioneer Award

Tim Ford (center), recipient of the 2013 Samuel Jones Pioneer Award, receives his award from Bonnie Boxell, the 2012 recipient, on Friday, July 5, in Warren. At right is Boxell’s son, Ron Boxell, who assisted in announcing the honor. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Tim Ford started volunteering in his hometown while he was still in high school.

He finished high school in 1973, but he wasn't finished volunteering.

His contributions over the last 40 years, while they haven't been splashy, haven't gone unnoticed.

Ford's fellow Warren residents said thanks in a big way by bestowing on him the 2013 Samuel Jones Pioneer Award.

The honor has been presented annually since 1989 to recognize the efforts of someone who has made a commitment to work for the betterment of the Warren community.

"Thanks, everybody," Ford said as he was called to the podium to receive the award during the Samuel Jones Pioneer Breakfast on Friday, July 5, at the Knight Bergman Center in Warren.

The breakfast is the traditional kick-off to the Salamonie Summer Festival, which continued through Sunday, July 7.

The Samuel Jones Pioneer Award is given in honor of Samuel Jones, the founder of the town of Warren.

A second award given during the breakfast, the Community Service Award, was presented to the employees of Citizens Telephone Corporation.

Ford received his award from Bonnie Boxell, who shared the 2012 Samuel Jones Pioneer Award with her late husband, Ron Boxell.

Boxell, unable to read the speech she had written honoring Ford because she had broken her glasses, turned over speech-reading duties to her son, Ron Boxell.

"As an enthusiastic and energetic individual, also a caring and humble person, he has shared his ideas, skills and talents as well as much time and work to help others, not forcing his way but just quietly contributing to the cause," Ron Boxell read.

Ford started volunteering with the Light House Youth Council, a teen gathering place in Warren, shortly before graduating from Huntington North High School in 1973. That's where he met his wife, Sally Knight Ford.

They now have three children, Neil Ford, Chrissie Ford Linker and Angel Ford Barr, and five grandchildren.

Ford continued volunteering in Warren as a member of the Warren Area Jaycees and the Warren Sportsman's Club and as a founding member of the Salamonie Active Men. He's also a regular volunteer during the annual Salamonie Summer Festival.

Ford has been a volunteer on the Warren Fire Department for more than 28 years.

"That's not something you just do for the glory or the pay, especially when you're volunteering," Ron Boxell said.

Most recently, Bonnie Boxell wrote, Ford spearheaded work on the ball diamond at the Knight Bergman Center.

"He played a huge role in getting supplies, donations and muscle power together to get the job done at no cost to anyone," she wrote. "Tim is now, and always has been, there for those that are in need. This community is truly blessed to have someone like him."

Citizens Telephone Corporation was recognized by Dave Daugherty, the 1997 Samuel Jones Pioneer Award recipient.

This is the fifth year for the Community Service Award, which recognizes a group or organization for its service to the Warren community.

The locally-owned telephone company has provided support to the Knight Bergman Center, a former school building that was reclaimed as a community center, and to the Pulse Opera House, Daugherty said.

The company also offers its customers an opportunity to donate to the food pantry at Christmas and frequently provides temporary phone or Internet hookups for special events.

A channel on the Citizens Telephone cable television service is dedicated to community announcements.

"When a weather or other disaster occurs, these people are often among the first to arrive and work on the cleanup and repairs," Daugherty said.

"Their commitment to our community and the pride that they show for this great little town through their service sets them apart and speaks highly of their characters," he said. "To put it in simple terms, what great people."