Boy Scouts to honor Jim Edwards at annual dinner

NORWICH – Tickets are available for a dinner recognizing Jim Edwards as the 2014 Distinguished Citizen of the Year and for his outstanding achievements in Chenango County.

Edwards will be honored by the local Boy Scouts of America at a dinner to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at the Canasawacta Country Club in Norwich. Selection was made for the award by a committee of local citizens which includes past recipients, and is co-chaired by Thomas Emerson and Howie Sullivan. Last year’s recipient was Howie Sullivan.

Jim was born in Norwich on January 19, 1938, and has resided and worked in Norwich his entire life. He attended St. Paul School and graduated from Norwich High School in 1956.

Jim was an active Boy Scout and recalls with great fondness the mentorship that he received from Waddy Wright, Leo Bumgardner and Gordon Doody who were Troop 67 leaders during 1949-1951. One of his most memorable childhood experiences was attending the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge in 1950 and listening to President Eisenhower address the 47,000 scouts from around the country.

Jim worked at Great American as Director of Facilities and Procurement until 1993. After a 37-year career with that company, he worked for Chenango Memorial Hospital as Facilities Director until his retirement in 2000. An active community member, Jim served as a Board member and President of the YMCA, a Board member of Guernsey Memorial Library and a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis club and the Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame Committee.

For over 40 years, Jim Edwards has been a mainstay of the Norwich football community. In 1970, Jim founded the Norwich Cyclones football and cheerleading program along with Pete Smith, Frank Mirabito, Frank Canto, Mickey James, Bob Goodrich and Ed Nelson. Jim currently serves as President of the organization, a position that he has held for 44 years. The Cyclone organization provides four levels of football participation based on age and weight, and three levels of cheerleading based on age. The Cyclones are extremely proud to have had dozens of players and cheerleaders receive Regional and National awards as Scholar athletes. Further, the Cyclones have earned over 70 league championships and have been the recipient of the league Sportsmanship award numerous times. In 1980, the Cyclones won the National Championship (Midget Division) with a 14 point victory over Pennridge, PA and in 2012 were NYS Champs in the Junior Pee Wee Division.

Over the years, nearly 2,300 boys and girls have played Cyclone football with over 700 girls having participated in cheerleading. It gives Jim a great deal of pride every year to see the significant number of Tornado football players and cheerleaders who received their start as Cyclones. That head start has been a major contributor to the continued success of Purple Tornado football.

In 1985, Jim was named the Mid-Atlantic Pop Warner Regional Volunteer of the year. In 2005, Jim and Virginia Edwards were given The Chenango County Youth Bureau/Board Honors Adult Volunteer Community Youth Workers award. In 2007, he was inducted into the Tri-Valley Pop Warner League Hall of Fame and in 2012 Jim was inducted into the Eastern Regional Pop Warner Hall of Fame.

Jim continues to reside in Norwich with his wife of 53 years Virginia. Together they have three children, Kurt, Jamie and Victoria; two daughter-in-laws Mary Carol and Chris and eight grandchildren; Keegan, Casey, Kyle, Cameron, Huston, Mason, Chloe and Darcy.

This is the 29th Annual Distinguished Citizen of the Year dinner benefiting the local Scouting program. Each year the Scouts recognize local community leaders for their outstanding contribution to the betterment of the community and service to their fellow citizens.

Reservations for the event may be made by contacting the Baden-Powell Council service center at 607-648-7888 or toll free at 1-877-674-8876 and asking for information on the Chenango Distinguished Citizens Award Dinner. Seating is limited, so please send in your reservation early. Jim encourages the citizens of Chenango County to join him in his efforts to support the local scouts.

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