Sojourner’s Truth Staff
Toledo’s Oshae Jones has returned home after winning a bronze medal in the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in the women’s welterweight boxing competition and she received a hero’s welcome on Monday at One Government Center from city and county officials, arts groups, along with her family and friends.
State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, informing Jones that she knew her grandmother, said: “Your grandmother believed in perseverance; you carry on her strong convictions, even through personal tragedy and I’m so grateful to you.”
Jones’ perseverance and her recent brush with tragedy were themes that virtually all the speakers repeated as they honored her athletic accomplishments and commiserated with her for the fire that destroyed her house mere days before she set off for Tokyo.
“We have a trailblazer,” said Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant, EdD, in a rousing speech as he ticked off her numerous recent boxing victories culminating in the bronze in Japan. “Today you are a proud medalist – a fighter in the gym and a fighter outside the gym. She’s got her ground game and she’s got her standup game.”
Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken called Jones “the heart of the city” and Rev. Willie Perryman, president of the Toledo NAACP and pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church where Jones’ family has been members for four generations, recounted the tragedy before her departure. He said a fund has been set up for Jones through the Jerusalem Outreach Ministries. That account is held at the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union to accept donations from all interested.
Tom Cole, broadcaster and a representative of the Taylor Automotive Family, wasted no time in getting the donations started. After lauding Jones for her toughness and her “stick-to-it-tiveness,” Cole presented a check to the young pugilist from Taylor in the amount of $1,000.
Toledo City Council presented Jones with a plaque; Lori Hauser, CEO of Imagination Station, presented Jones with a grab bag containing memberships to 21 area arts and cultural institutions.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, a boxing fan who had followed Jones’ journey with great interest, offered the key to the city and, perhaps more importantly, a commitment of $1,000 from his personal funds to match the Taylor contribution. That offer got the ball rolling as several other individuals committed funds to Jones, who was by then constantly wiping away tears of gratitude.
“She is the story of Toledo itself,” said the mayor comparing her ups and downs to those of her hometown after he expanded on the points that Cole had raised by recounting the history of boxers and boxing events in Toledo’s past. He noted, among other events, that an amateur Cassius Clay once had a boxing contest here in the 1950’s.
“She floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee,” Kapszukiewicz added in closing. “Rumble, young woman … rumble.”