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Q&A with George & Laura Jones, Recipients of the 2018 Randy & Donna Volunteers of the Year Award

George and Laura, thank you for all you’ve done for CAC and its families. We’re thrilled to have the chance to learn your story.

Tell us a little about your family and your connection with CAC.
George graduated from CAC in 1983, and we met at Harding University and got married in 1988. We have two children, Jordan (2011 CAC graduate) and Sydnie (2015 CAC graduate). Over the years, we opened our home to other children, some of which also graduated from CAC. We’re currently raising our two young nephews ages six and four.
CAC and CAC sports have always been a big part of our lives and our children’s lives. Many of the people we went to CAC and/or Harding with have children that have gone through the elementary basketball program, which has made it that much more special to be a part of.

You’ve been running CAC’s elementary basketball program for over 15 years. What made you decide to take on that responsibility?
This is actually a funny question. We clearly remember being asked to “fill in” for just a couple of Saturdays and before you know it, 15 plus years later, here we are, still filling in! We really don’t remember making the conscious decision that this is what we were going to do. It just kind of happened and we kept rolling with it!

You’ve spent a lot of time around basketball over the past 15 years. Are you big fans of the game?
We are huge fans of the game. It’s really fun to watch the kids progress in their skill of the game year after year. We’ve had many opportunities to watch basketball at many different levels and enjoy them all. We’ve also really enjoyed watching our youngest daughter play at the college level for the past three years.

What has been the biggest blessing you’ve experienced through the program?
There are a couple of things that come to mind, but we would have to say that the biggest blessing would have to be the relationships that we’ve made along the way. Relationships not only with the kids playing basketball week after week, grade after grade, but the kids that we hire to work elementary basketball every week.

Running the same program for 15 years lends itself to quite a few experiences! What has been your favorite part? What is one of your favorite memories?
Our favorite part is probably Championship Week every year. The kids are always so excited because it usually means they get to play in the evenings during the week, not just on Saturday. So those games during Championship Week have more of a junior high or high school feel to them rather than an elementary game, which is very exciting for the players.

One of the most memorable moments over the years was when there was a change to the schedule one Saturday, but unfortunately, the league director forgot to send an email to us to inform us that our gym would be in use. We were not scheduled to operate the gym that day, so imagine our surprise when a parent called to say that the gym doors were locked! The drive to the gym from our house usually took about 30 minutes, but that particular morning we were there in record time! On the way to the gym we called some kids to see if they could work on short notice (and of course they did!). So from that point on, if we ever had an open Saturday and weren’t scheduled to operate the gym, we triple checked the schedule just to make sure. That was certainly an awkward moment that we did not want to repeat!

Congratulations on being honored as the Randy & Donna Dennis Volunteers of the Year! We are so thankful for all you’ve done for CAC. Rumor has it that you’re planning to retire from the elementary basketball program. How will you be spending your Saturday mornings now?
We are truly humbled to receive the Randy & Donna Dennis Volunteers of the Year Award. We remember the example set by Randy and Donna years ago as they volunteered so much of their time working tirelessly and encouraging those around them as they did so. We would so often wonder how, and why, they kept going.

For us, as we’re sure it was with them, it’s the love of the school and what it stands for. It’s also the friendships and relationships that are made over the years. It’s not too hard giving your time to something you love so much.

How will we spend Saturday mornings…

Based on some things that we had planned for next year, we were pretty adamant that this was our final year at the conclusion of this season. However, plans change and after some discussion, we decided that we may not be finished quite yet. We may still have another year or so left in us. We’ll see!