Edward sims honored for outstanding and dedicated volunteer services
“One person can make a difference if you serve.”
This is the motto Madison County resident Edward Sims has followed throughout his life as a hard worker, dedicated father, mentor and volunteer.
Sims, 83, was recently presented with a resolution honoring him for outstanding and dedicated volunteer services.
He was also named the 2018 Volunteer of the Year by the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District during their Older Americans Month.
These accolades are for Sims’ dedicated service with the Madison County Citizens Services Agency Commodity Supplemental Food Program since 2010.
He has assisted with 96 distributions and he has worked more than 500 volunteer hours since 2010 and has not missed a distribution date in eight years. He manages the loading line for one of the sites.
He enjoys giving back to his community also by encouraging young people to get involved and shares his fresh, homegrown vegetables with friends and neighbors.
Sharon Weathersby, director of social services at Madison County Citizens Services Agency, said, “Mr. Sims also has a passion for helping others and believes in serving his community with dignity, respect, but most of all with love.”
Before Sims became involved with all of his volunteer work, he says, “I was a cowboy, I was a veterinarian, I was a manager.”
A jack of all trades, Sims spent much of his life farming and taking care of animals.
“I did it all,” he said. “I was a full around man, doing what I had to do.”
“The reason I say I was a cowboy, I went to rope some cows for a man and the first thing I did was pull the bridle off my horse and didn’t have nothing around his neck but a chain, and I roped cows,” he said.
He has many stories of his time on the farm.
“I was a farm man,” he said. “After I got there they made a manager out of me. That’s what I did. When I went to herd cows with some of them, they would tell them, do what Mr. Sims says do.”
He and his wife celebrated 63 years of marriage in May. Together they have 11 children, 10 girls and one boy. Sims was also one of 11 children.
“When I did marry her, I had hair sticking out to here,” Sims said with his hands high above his head. “But now, after trying to take care of those 11, I rubbed it all out. Now, I ain’t got nothing but bald brain,” he added with a laugh.
Sims said they have shared a nice life together and a wonderful marriage. He says the secret to keeping a happy marriage with all of those children is to be on each other’s side always.
“The children looked like they was a daddy’s baby. They were going to come for daddy,” he said. “But, if she told them one thing, I wasn’t going to dip in it and tell them another one.”
To keep the house in order, Sims had a few rules. He remembers being strict about curfew.
“My rule was, after 10 o’clock, I’m the only fella that can come staggering in the house after 10,” he said. “They went out there one night – they know I love to eat – and stayed until after 10 o’clock and came back and set the clock back. They got up and cooked for me and set the clock back.”
He did not find out about that instance until after they were grown.
With a house full, Sims said he worked hard to take care of his family.
“The little plant that was in town, they were giving 75 cents an hour and was giving $5 a head to catch cows,” he said. “On Tuesday, I’d go out and make $55 to $60. I could go out and make something out of it.”
As for his marriage, Sims said they were happy together because they trusted each other.
“We never had a fight about that,” he said. “We didn’t live that kind of life. You just do the right thing.”
The kids would stay out of school two days a month to help out. Sims said he made them bring their report cards to him so that he could make sure they did not have more absences than that.
“I didn’t let them miss school and miss their education,” he said.
All of his children went to college or took up a trade after high school.
“You sit down and put your foot down and whatever you said, that’s what you meant,” Sims said. “I’d send them to college, I would explain to them, ‘Baby, you ain’t going to college to get no baby. You going to college to learn.’ If they went out there and came up with a baby, they couldn’t say daddy didn’t tell me.”
Sims spends much time in his garden at home. He grows a little bit of everything, including peas, okra and sweet potatoes. He shares the fruit of his labor with those in the community, but he doesn’t sell it.
He said his mother taught him to do that.
“I was raised that kind of way,” he said.
His daughter said she picked up some of the same lessons from her father.
“He was a great father,” she said. “He’s been a wonderful father. He’s the best. He taught us morals and principals.”
She said her father always taught them to manage their money properly.
“He taught us that whatever we made, that we were to save it,” she said. “He would say, if you’re working all this time and you can’t be off for a month and make your bills, then you aren’t managing your money. He taught us how to manage money. He taught us how to take a dime and stretch it. So, most would say we’re stingy, but we’re not. We know how to manage money.”
One thing that Sims instilled in them over the years was regular church attendance.
“We couldn’t go anywhere else until we went to church,” she said. “That was one thing that grounded us.”
Sims loved his girls, but he wanted to pass his name on to a boy if he were to have one. When his wife became pregnant with their fifth child, they thought it would be the last time.
So, they decided if it was a girl they would name her Eddie Mae and if it was a boy, he would be named Edward Junior.
They didn’t know the sex of the baby until she was born. They knew if it was a girl, they would name her Eddie Mae because they thought she would be the last child.
Little did they know that six more were coming, and that one would be a boy. When the boy was born, they named him Percy after his grandfather.
“Then there came six more,” he said.
The girls spoiled Percy, since he was the only boy.
“They did, but I didn’t,” Sims said.
He recalls coming in from work one night and his son had not fed the hogs like Sims had asked him to while he was gone to work.
“I asked him if he fed the hogs, and he said, ‘No, I was playing,’” Sims said. “I said, ‘Well now is a good time to go get it.’ Then, his mama jumped up and said, ‘You shouldn’t send that boy out in the night to go get corn.’ I said, ‘Well make this story short, you go.’ If she didn’t want him to go, then she should go,” he added with a laugh.
The girls, trying to help Percy, tried to trick Sims.
“They said we will go out there and get it and throw it to the hogs,” Sims said. “I said, I’ll save y’all a trip and I’ll throw it to the hogs. Because the hogs couldn’t tell me in the morning if they did it.”
Sims could share stories of his life with his family for hours and still have plenty to tell. While everyone who meets him may not learn the stories of his past, one thing they will learn from him, even during the shortest of visits, is that he is a hard-working man with a deep love for his family and his community.
(Photo) Taking part in the presentation are (from left) Mary Sims-Johnson, executive director of Madison County Citizens Services Agency (MCCSA); Shelia Jones, president of Madison County Board of Supervisors; Edward Sims; Sharon Weathersby, director of social services of MCCSA; and Timmy Pickett, board chairman of MCCSA