Dec. 9, 2015, 9:02 a.m.

Playground Dedicated to the Memory of Jon Jones

Southmountain Children and Family Services recently honored the memory of long-time Trustee Jon Jones of Valdese by dedicating the new playground on the campus of Southmountain’s Foster Community in his name. Mr. Jones served on the Board of Trustees of Southmountain for nearly three decades. For much of that time, he served as Vice Chairman of the Board.
As an attorney and District Court Judge, Mr. Jones' knowledge and experience provided him with a unique perspective upon which to build his personal volunteer service. That knowledge and experience proved to be invaluable throughout his time on the Board of Southmountain. "Jon's personal experiences on the bench gave him a unique perspective that helped us to grow and improve Southmountain’s programs for children and families," said Executive Director Chris Jernigan. "He was a big proponent of the Residential Care Program of Southmountain and was instrumental in changing it into to the one-of-a-kind 'Foster Community' it is today." Mr. Jones was also a very strong advocate for Southmountain’s movement towards establishing four Children’s Advocacy Centers and Clinical Centers of Excellence serving Burke, McDowell, Yancey, Mitchell, Watauga and Avery Counties. "As a Judge, Jon saw firsthand how child abuse investigations can create additional trauma for children who are already traumatized by abuse," said Jernigan. Children’s Advocacy Centers help to reduce that trauma by creating a multidisciplinary approach among investigative agencies and by conducting interviews and medical examinations of children in a less threatening environment.
“Jon’s wisdom, dedication and guidance is greatly missed on our board,” said Board Chair Bill Brinkley, himself recently honored for his long-time service on the Board. "He was always our 'go to' guy when we needed legal advice or help in understanding the importance of our programs within the system." The new playground in the Foster Community was made possible in part by Morganton Savings Bank who was more than happy to see Jon's name go on it. “We are very grateful to Morganton Savings Bank for their generosity in building this beautiful playground for our children,” said Jernigan. "Like Jon, they have always been a strong supporter of our programs and our children." Jernigan and Brinkley both expressed their personal loss in the death of Jon Jones. "I will always be grateful for Jon's service and his friendship," said Brinkley. Jernigan echoed those sentiments. “ I am so thankful for his support, guidance, and friendship. He was always there for the children and families as well as for me personally. He made a tough job a lot easier throughout my 26 years."