Plantersville soldier laid to rest Saturday

Published 9:55 pm Saturday, June 27, 2009

Almost 600 friends, relatives and dignitaries gave U.S. Army Sgt. Ricky DeWayne “MoJoe” Jones a final salute Saturday and sent him home.

They remembered the 2001 Dallas County High graduate as a soldier.

The 26-year-old was killed on Father’s Day while serving in Afghanistan. His widow, Fredda, accepted the many awards from the Army, Gov. Bob Riley’s office, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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Jones was remembered as a friend and athlete.

Former coach and administrator Allen Shelton told about Jones’ antics as a Dallas County football player during the two-hour service, and how he asked an opposing announcer to tell a basketball audience, “MoJoe was in the house.”

To the Rev. J.R. Curry, who gave the eulogy, Jones was a Christian and a hero.

“I knew MoJoe on a personal basis,” Curry said, “and I know he knew God.”

Curry read John 11:25-26, where Jesus tells Martha — the sister of Lazarus — whoever believes in him will not die. Jesus had said Lazarus was only sleeping.

“MoJoe is only sleeping,” said Curry, who baptized Jones. “When you are alive, you have two choices: to sleep in Jesus or to die in hell.”

Shelton also spoke of Jones’ religious devotion.

“His hero was Jesus, and his favorite book was the Bible,” he said. “It takes a lot of things to win character,” he said. “Things like teamwork and sportsmanship. He had personality; it was a personality you would not believe.”

Shelton also challenged the Dallas County grads of 2001 and 2002 to make a personal contribution.

“What are you going to offer?” he asked.

The Army presented Jones with the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge, which was established in 2005 for soldiers who saw combat.

State Rep. Yusuf Salaam, D-Selma, spoke for Riley in giving Jones’ widow the Distinguished Service Medal, a Certificate in Memory and a state commendation and resolution.

American Legion representatives presented a Gold Star Banner, which designates a person who is killed in action, and a Gold Star Pin.

Rod Stone of the VFW gave Jones’ widow a memorial Bible.

“He gave all for his God, his friends and his country,” Stone said. “For this we salute him.”

On behalf of the Dallas County Commission, Probate Judge Kim Ballard presented a proclamation the commission will sign at its next meeting to designate Saturday, June 27, as “Ricky DeWayne ‘MoJoe’ Jones Day.”

After the ceremony, Jones was buried at Elyton Missionary Baptist Church in Plantersville.

In addition to his wife, survivors include four sons, Kenderrick, Marius, I’Kemeyon and Jerious Jones; his parents, Stanley and Sheila McCary of Plantersville; his father, Willie Tyus of Selma; four sisters, Jasmine Jones of Plantersville, Latisha Tyus, Lequanda Rand and Tanza Tyus, all of Selma; his grandmother, Pearlie Jones of Plantersville; grandparents Hugh and Mamie McCary of Plantersville; grandmother Elizabeth Tyus of Selma; great-grandmother Cornelia Reese of Selma; and numerous aunts, uncles and other relatives.