EMU gold medalist Hayes Jones gets day of honor Oct. 18
YPSILANTI – When Eastern Michigan University’s Hayes Jones returned home from the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, he showed the true measure of an athlete. He selflessly donated his gold medal in the 110-meter high hurdles to the youth of Pontiac.
In the 40 years since Jones won the medal, he has continued to demonstrate his dedication to his community and will be honored by Oakland County Oct. 18 with Hayes Jones Day.
Jones will be honored with a ceremony at noon in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners parking lot at 1200 N. Telegraph Rd. Jones will receive tributes from Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the board of commissioners, the county executive, U.S. Congress, the state House of Representatives, the Michigan Senate, the Pontiac School District, the City of Pontiac and Eastern Michigan University.
"When Brooks Patterson informed me of his intentions, it took me completely by surprise,” said Jones, a 1961 graduate of EMU. “Quite frankly, I don't think that I am deserving of this type of recognition, I was only doing what boys my age did back then while growing up in Pontiac, competing against all of the guys in the neighborhood. I learned at an early age that I had the ability to run fast, jump high and far, and was encouraged to develop the gift, which was freely given to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think, what I was doing just for fun, would result in a parade being planned in my honor."
"Throughout his entire life, Hayes Jones has not only demonstrated his extraordinary athletic prowess, but he also has served as a role model for young people by showing them what can be accomplished through hard work, dedication and sacrifice," said Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive.
Jones, 62, is currently deputy director of the Oakland County Department of Community and Economic Development.
Jones won two state championships and set a state record during his track career at Pontiac High School (later called Pontiac Central). At Eastern Michigan University, Jones earned two NCAA hurdles championships. He went on to win four U.S. outdoor titles and was undefeated in 55 straight indoor hurdle races from 1959-64. Jones won the bronze medal in the 110-meter-high hurdles at the 1960 Rome Olympics before taking gold in 1964.
"My tenure as an employee at Oakland County has been equally rewarding," Jones said. "As the county's deputy director of community and economic development, I not only focus on business retention and helping existing businesses prosper, but on bringing more business and more job opportunities in the county through the Export Center."
The Export Center helps small and medium-size companies who are ready to begin exporting their products and services to the international marketplace, Jones said.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.