The Grassroots Board of Directors has always included a member of local law enforcement. Major Ellsworth Jones has filled that role since 2009. This year he stepped down from the board after nearly nine years of dedication to the organization.
Over his tenure with Grassroots, highpoints for Major Jones include working to expand the Mobile Crisis Team and to find a new leader after former Executive Director Andrea Ingram retired.
Major Jones has been in law enforcement for 30 years and sees firsthand the importance of Grassroots and its relationship with the police department, especially when it is called upon to respond to runaways, people with mental health crises and individuals experiencing homelessness.
“We are expected to be able to respond to all sorts of types of service calls. To expect an officer to be able to do that with just the tools they have is impractical,” Major Jones says. As a member of the Mobile Crisis Team along with the police, “Grassroots has given us the backup to address the needs of the people we encounter on a daily basis,” he explains.
In addition to his hands-on work, Major Jones has helped raise funds for Grassroots through the Ride with Heroes event, a motorcycle ride he helped organize. Law enforcement, first responders and “wounded warriors” participated.
Though he no longer serves on the board, Major Jones says he’s not “totally gone” and plans to continue attending events and assisting the Mobile Crisis Team find new northern headquarters.