ASU Extension bus tours Jefferson County

ASU Extension bus tours surrounding counties

After a year of dedicated services, approximately 45 Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) staff members toured Jefferson and Claiborne counties, led by Gerald Jones, ASUEP regional coordinator, Capital River Region.

“I have been serving as regional coordinator and working with ASUEP for 21 years,” said Jones. “I thought it was a great idea to tour our counties and promote our signature health and wellness programs.”

The tour bus departed Alcorn for Port Gibson, Mississippi, where participants met with civil rights leader Nathan Jones, the first African American to register to vote in Claiborne County in the 1960s. “Someone had to make a move, and I guess I was the one who stepped up,” a 98-year-old Jones said, who still remembers vividly civil rights struggles and hardships endured a half a century ago in Port Gibson.

The group then toured the Port Gibson Farmers Market and met with Kenneth Ross, Main Street director, who recently returned to his hometown from New York.

Next, the group met with local volunteers actively involved in the downtown revitalization and community gardening before touring Mount Bethel Church and the multi-purpose facility where Director Michelle Burrell showed the group the facility’s renovations and top of the line exercise equipment.

Following the tour, a luncheon was held at the Eola Hotel in Natchez, Mississippi, during which Dr. Dalton McAfee, extension administrator, introduced Dr. Richard Liles, Dr. James West, and Ms. Katherine Williams, volunteer workshop coordinators from Liles and Associates, Raleigh, North Carolina.

The final leg of the bus tour was a Tree Planting Ceremony to honor the late Alcornite Mrs. Mary Harness ’69, wife of longtime extension director, Dr. Jesse Harness Sr. ’67. Ms. Lorraine Lias served as mistress of ceremonies and Dr. Dalton McAfee offered a special reading as a tribute to Mrs. Harness and family. Dr. Cedric Sims, agronomy specialist, rendered his reflections on Mrs. Harness’ life and work. “She was the ultimate volunteer and an outstanding educator with 40-plus years of service. She was an outstanding mother to three sons who grew up to become successful professionals – an engineer, a doctor, and a lawyer.”

Concluding the tour, Dr. Franklin Chukwuma, extension coordinator, off-campus centers, stated, “Today’s bus tour was very informational. It showed us that volunteer work is not easy. You need to have an objective and a clear purpose to be successful and grow your movement in the community.”