Mary Forster-Jones 2013 ‘Golden Deeds’ recipient
Kathy Forster couldn’t have been happier to hear that her mother – Mary Forster-Jones ­– was selected as the winner of the 2013 Book of Golden Deeds award at the annual Exchange Club banquet Thursday.

“I’ve known she has been special and I’m glad she’s being recognized,” said Forster, who accepted the award on her mother’s behalf. “I’m very proud of my mother.”

Each year Jacksonville’s Exchange Club honors one resident who has made significant contributions to the community through volunteerism. This year Forster-Jones was selected from a list of three nominees, which also included Stan Eason, a volunteer chaplain; Jerry Klug, who has actively supported efforts to preserve historic structures in the city; and Noxie Taylor, who volunteered more than 200 hours helping with the restoration of the train depot.

“She’s touched the lives of a lot of people,” said Mike Limerick, who heads the Exchange Club committee that selects the Golden Deed recipient each year.

Forster-Jones was unable to attend the annual event because of an illness, her daughter said.

Slideshow: Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds banquet

Forster-Jones became involved in volunteerism locally after moving to Jacksonville with her family in 1968. The family moved to the area after Forster-Jones’ husband, Gene Forster, a Vietnam veteran who died in 1991, was stationed at Fort McClellan.

“This became her home,” Forster said.

Forster-Jones is in the process of recovering from a stroke. Reached latter by phone, she said she volunteered in Jacksonville because it’s home to her.

“Some people like to work and some people don’t like to work,” Forster-Jones said. “I worked until I was 65 so I just kept on working. It gives you satisfaction of helping people.”

She was one of the first volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels in the county. She worked with the Girl Scout program and assisted Jacksonville High School Band Boosters with fundraising activities, according to the Exchange Club.

Forster-Jones was also known for working with a local garden club to plant spring flowers around the Square. She assisted Jacksonville schools with Odyssey of the Mind, a collaborative problem solving organization that included students in kindergarten and college, a club pamphlet states.

Forster also served as an advocate to get a sidewalk extended in front of Winn Dixie in Jacksonville on Highway 21. Additionally she spent time working with residents in the local housing authority to encourage them to pursue an education and secure good jobs, according to the club.

She was nominated for the award by her daughter, who lives in Auburn.
© 2013