A poster, a message and purple and green ribbons decorated a chain-link fence along Bob Jones Way on a chilly Monday morning, marking the one-year anniversary of the passing of Auburn High School’s longtime coach, teacher, athletic director and friend.
Jones, 60, died March 19, 2017, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He worked for the Auburn School District for 36 years, taught science and health for 22 of them, coached football, wrestling and boys soccer for two decades and was the school’s athletic director for 24 years.
To honor him, students and staff attached a poster, Focus On Today – a memorable Jones’ message – and tied ribbons to the fence, which spans the school’s north parking lot facing Troy Field.
Mayor Nancy Backus took time out from her busy day to be there and remember Jones.
“This is a way for the community to honor a legend and to remember him still to this day,” said junior Jayden Henry, one of the student activities leaders who organized the effort.
Henry and Dylan Winter, the school’s Relay for Life ambassadors, and fellow students launched a campaign to raise funds to continue Jones’ work. The Relay for Life was Jones’ passion, they said, and he often said that the work done by the American Cancer Society is why he stayed in his fight against cancer for 3½ years.
For 21 years, Jones walked in and was the coordinator for the Auburn Relay for Life.
Money raised from $1 ribbon sales will support the school’s Relay for Life efforts. The South King Relay For Life event is at Kent-Meridian High School’s French Field on June 1.
The public can participate in the cause by purchasing ribbons at the school’s activities office, 711 E. Main St.
Individuals may write a message on the ribbons and name someone who has survived or died from cancer. School representatives will attach the ribbons to the fence.
Those who donate of $5 or more get a ribbon and a Focus On Today bracelet, while supplies last.