Chuckatuck couple goes above and beyond

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, October 27, 2016

The walls of the small Chuckatuck home of Roosevelt and Catherine Jones are decorated with several brown plaques and framed certificates, all testaments to the character of the Joneses.

“I think they are one of the finest couples in the area,” said Sammy Copeland, a friend.

The couple, married for more than 55 years, has lived in the town for most their lives. However, instead of simply being residents, they have become activists in their community.

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“I think when I was born, God anointed me for this,” Roosevelt said.

Dating back to his early 20s, Roosevelt has had his hand in the community. He has served as president of the Oakland, Chuckatuck and Sandy Bottom Civic League and currently serves as vice president. Roosevelt helped revive the league in 2008.

He is also on the Greater Chuckatuck Historical Foundation board, a member of the Bethel Masonic Lodge No. 7 and an array of other community organizations and initiatives.

Catherine is often called on to cook for various fundraisers and events around town.

“She’s the community cook,” Roosevelt said.

Having grown up in poor household, Catherine said it has given her a heart to serve those less fortunate.

“It’s hard to see someone who can’t make it,” she said.

“When someone is in need, we try to help.”

Despite being senior citizens, the couple has not slowed down one bit.

“I stay busy,” Catherine said.

“My momma told me, ‘Idle hands is the devil’s workshop.’”

Catherine also has her own catering and janitorial business.

When Catherine decided to go back to school at age 55, Roosevelt stepped in to help with the janitorial business and still does to this day.

Catherine went back to get her GED and also completed courses at Tidewater Community College. Then, she went to nursing school, where she graduated third in her class.

Roosevelt currently does janitorial work at a handful of churches, to include Oakland Christian United Church of Christ. In June of this year, his lodge even helped raise funds to offset the pastor’s medical costs. The Rev. Greg Ryan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia while on vacation with wife in Hawaii.

For the church’s “9-1-1 for Pastor Greg” fundraiser, Catherine chipped in and made all the desserts for the event.

“They are very considerate — very compassionate,” said the Rev. Wayne Gardner, interim pastor at Oakland Christian United Church of Christ.

Catherine is also heavily involved with the local Order of the Eastern Star chapter, which stresses an emphasis on charity.

Over the years, the organization has provided Thanksgiving dinners to families in need, has done clothing drives and several other initiatives.

When asked why they have been so persistent with giving back, both reached a consensus.

“Seeing the people happy,” Roosevelt said.

“The people are so supportive — it makes us want to continue.”

The Joneses hope to establish a legacy of servitude and excellence.

“I wanted my children to do better than I did and their children to do better than they did and down the line,” Catherine said.

Outside of having a passion for service, both are also avid football fans — Roosevelt, a Washington Redskins fan, and Catherine, a Dallas Cowboys fan.

“They aren’t going to do anything this year,” Catherine joked.