The Cottage Hill Civitan Club has named Mobile Mayor Samuel L. Jones as the 2008 Mobilian of the Year.
As Mobile’s most prestigious civic honor, the Mobilian of the Year award has been given annually since 1948 to an individual who has made an extraordinary, positive impact on the Mobile community. This marks the 60th anniversary of the award.
The Mobilian of the Year Banquet will be held on Thursday, March 26, at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center. A cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.
Randall “Randy” Eckhoff, Mobilian of the Year chairman for the Cottage Hill Civitan Club, said the Civitan Club is excited about the 2008 Mobilian of the Year award program and the celebration of the award’s 60th anniversary. The Civitan Club received numerous nominations for this year’s award. All are outstanding citizens of the City of Mobile, with extremely high credentials for community service in both the public and private sectors, Eckhoff said.
“We are pleased at the selection of Mayor Sam Jones as the recipient of the Mobilian of the Year award for 2008,” he said. “Mayor Jones is a native of Mobile and has served the city in numerous ways throughout his career, including his current role as our mayor. We are looking forward to honoring him at the Mobilian of the Year banquet on March 26.”
The Civitan Club of Mobile sponsored the Mobilian of the Year program from 1948 until 2006, when the Cottage Hill Civitan Club began coordinating the event. In 2007, USA joined the Cottage Hill Civitan Club as a partner in the event. USA is not involved in the selection process for the award, but hosts and assists with the annual banquet.
Banquet tickets are available by contacting Randy Eckhoff at (251) 666-1973 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.civitan.org/~cottagehill/. The tickets cost $65 each or $500 for a table of eight. The deadline for ticket sales is March 19. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Mobilian of the Year award, the Civitan Club has commissioned a commemorative coin. Each ticket will include one coin, with additional coins available for purchase.
Mayor Samuel L. Jones: A History of Service
A Mobile native, Jones was elected in 2005 as the first African-American mayor of Mobile. His top priorities as mayor are: keeping the citizens and visitors safe; creating an accountable, efficient and effective city government; preserving the historic beauty of the city; providing top-notch citizen service for easy access to city government; and offering an excellent workforce for current and prospective employers.
His tireless efforts toward economic development, and his ability to work with state, civic and economic leaders, have helped lead to Mobile’s current status as one of the fastest-growing cities in the state and nation. Jones was instrumental in recruiting German steelmaking giant ThyssenKrupp to the area, and he has played a lead role in the winning of and continual negotiations for the Northrop Grumman/EADS bid for the tanker refueling project for the U.S. Air Force.
Prior to his election as mayor, Jones served as a Mobile County Commissioner for four terms. In this leadership role for the state’s second-largest county, Jones helped pioneer the city-county partnerships evident in the construction of Metro Jail and Mobile Government Plaza. Before joining and leading the County Commission, Jones served the community as executive director of Mobile Community Action Inc. from 1980-87, overseeing a 240-person staff and a $5 million annual budget.
A graduate of Central High School in Mobile, Jones attended Florida Junior College and Jacksonville University in Florida before enrolling at the Alabama Interdenominational Seminary, where he has been awarded an honorary doctorate.
Jones was in the U.S. Navy for nine years and served on the USS Forrestal. During this period, he served as a Flight Deck Troubleshooter for A-7 aircraft, Equal Opportunity Officer, Race Relations Education Specialist and Community Services Coordinator.
His affiliations include: past president of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama; former member of the National Association of Counties Board of Directors; National Association of Counties Election Reform Steering Committee; co-chair of Renewal 90 Educational Initiative; steering committee member of the 1988, 1992 and 2000 Education Funding Referendum Initiatives; former member of the Alabama Sentencing Commission; Judge, Alabama Court of the Judiciary; former member of the Judicial Inquiry Commission; past member of the Alabama Port Authority; former member of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; former board member of the United Way of Southwest Alabama and 1998 chairman of a $7 million campaign for the organization; founder of the Mobile County Community Development Partnership; founder, Prichard Federal Credit Union; former chair of Envision Mobile/Baldwin; member, Underage Drinking Task Force; member, 100 Black Men, Mobile Chapter; and director of Christian Education and Sunday School Superintendent for Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
Jones currently serves on the boards of several organizations, including the University of South Alabama, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, the Mobile United Steering Committee, the Mobile Senior Bowl Committee, the MLK Redevelopment Corporation, the Mobile County Governmental Utilities, Mobile County Communication District, Volunteers of America, and Maritime Center of the Gulf of Mexico. He also serves as chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and an emeritus member of the Community Foundation of Southwest Alabama.
His awards include: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Man of the Year; 1996 Alpha Phi Alpha Citizen of the Year; Johnnie M. Leatherwood Leadership Award from the Bay Area Women’s Coalition; The Humanitarian Award from Satsuma High School; Honorary Member, Alpha Beta Kappa, Southeast College of Technology; United Negro College Fund Meritorious Service Award; Alabama Honorary Colonel by former Gov. Jim Folsom and Gov. Bob Riley; National Black Police Association Community Service Award; Knights of St. Peter Claver #172 Leadership Award; Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Community Service Award; Blacks in Government Community Service Award; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award; Mobile Minority Business Advocate Award; Sickle Cell Association President’s Award; and U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Advocate.
Civitan International is devoted to improving the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Civitan International Clubs enrich communities across the globe by sponsoring summer camps, vocational programs and Special Olympics. Civitan International Research Center focuses its scientific energies on developing cutting-edge treatments for autism, cerebral palsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Cottage Hill Civitan Club
The Cottage Hill Civitan Club has worked with many local charities over the years. The group supports Augusta Evans Special School and the school’s Special Olympics Weight-Lifting Team. It has also given time and resources to the Mulherin Home, United Cerebral Palsy's Camp Smile, Mobile Association for Retarded Citizens, Penelope House and Wilmer Hall Children's Home. The group also sponsors Junior Civitan clubs at local area high schools, training the next generation in civic involvement.
Since 1948, area Civitan clubs have championed civic involvement through the Mobilian of the Year award, the most prestigious and longest-running award in the region.