By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
A couple who returned to Floyd almost 26 years ago to take over a family ranch was named Floyd Citizens of the Year on Saturday during the 55th Annual Floyd Country Music Jamboree.
Harold and Jima Widener were recognized for their support for Floyd schools, sponsoring high-school senior trips, booster clubs and helping with the 100 years of Floyd history book, according to Kenny Reed, Floyd Lions Club president.
“It’s just a great honor,” Harold Widener said. “We were surprised, we weren’t expecting it. We chose to come back to Floyd.”
Jima Widener said they have lived in Washington, D.C., where her husband was an FBI agent, and in Tyler, Texas, but made the choice to come back to Floyd, where the couple met going to Floyd Schools. Jima Widener said her husband was an FBI agent for 18 years.
The couple has been married for 46 years.
“I made a comment on Saturday night that I’m proud to live in a community where we don’t have trouble finding lots of people who are deserving of the award,” Reed said.
Jima Widener said the couple moved back to Floyd in 1979, with their son Joel graduating from Floyd High School in 1980 and their daughter Susan in 1985. Two of the Widener’s three children graduated from Floyd.
“It was a great place to come back and raise your kids,” Jima Widener said. “It’s home. We’ve never been sorry to come back.”
Reed said the award honors a Floyd citizen who has not only contributed to the community in the last five or 10 years but during their whole lifetime.
The four-day jamboree featuring local musicians and cowboy poets ended Sunday with a gospel performance.
Organizers said there were approximately 1,300 paid attendants Thursday through Saturday night.
“Overall it was a success,” organizer Houston Lee said. “Saturday night was lighter than last year’s Saturday night, but that may have something to do with the weather.”
Reed said the club raised approximately $4,500 for the first three days of the jamboree compared to $3,400 last year.
Reed said much of that money will go to Floyd families who may need to pay medical bills, help pay the water bill for the Floyd Community Center and glassware for Floyd students.