Victoria Jones was selected to be this year’s recipient of the Ledyard Rotary Club’s Wesley J. Johnson Sr. Memorial Scholarship.
“We had the most impressive applicant pool ever, but Tori Jones emerged as someone whose passion for and commitment to service were simply palpable,” said Tom Reynolds, selection committee chairman. “The committee is convinced Tori will continue to contribute to her community and to society for the rest of her life,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds said that the selection committee interview six finalists and Tori seemed to exemplify the Rotary Club’s motto “service above self” the most.
“She had a heartfelt commitment to serving others and it was clear that she would make that a part of her life,” he said.
Jones’ application revealed mission trips to an Alzheimer’s daycare center, a homeless shelter and emergency crisis center for pregnant women and impoverished areas in Maine, West Virginia and in the Adirondacks. Jones also has a long record of volunteerism through school, church, area charities and Backus Hospital.
“Service has become such a large part of my life. It has been a humbling experience for me. It has helped me to learn to put others before myself and to view the world in a different way,” she wrote in her application.
Jones said she plans to continue serving others while studying nursing at University of Massachusetts Amherst next year.
“I truly believe that spending time putting others needs in front of your own is the best way to life,” she wrote. “Not only will you help others to get what they need, but you will help yourself grow exponentially in return.”
This is the fourth year the Rotary Club has offered the $1,000 scholarship in the name of Wesley J. Johnson, Sr.
According to the scholarship description, “he was President of Ledyard Rotary from 2004-2005 and in 2005 was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award bestowed by Rotary International. He also served as Mayor of Ledyard, Chairman of the Ledyard Town Council, President of the Ledyard Lions Club and the Ledyard Fair, and as a leader and volunteer for countless other local, regional and state organizations. Mr. Johnson modeled the values of Rotary and proved by example what can be accomplished through "service above self."