By day, he is an electronics laboratory manager who works at MSU’s Extension Center for Technology Outreach, but after hours, Steve Jones continues his day as a volunteer firefighter.
He has demonstrated love for community through his 27 years in this role, always on call.
“I’ve forgotten what made my friend and me want to join as firefighters, but since then, I feel like I have contributed a lot,” he said. “I am a people person, so I like meeting and helping others.”
Because of his passion for service, he recently started to experiment with training Sophie, his son Riley’s dog, to aid in search-and-rescue missions. Even though she has never been used in a real search-and-rescue, she is now fully trained and ready to respond in case a tragedy occurs.
Jones discovered it takes a community to train a dog. His family and friends have helped in countless mock search-and-rescues just so Sophie could gain experience. All she has to do is smell an article of clothing, and Sophie can find a missing person who is over a mile away in less than 30 minutes.
“I am calling this program ‘Shining Light Rescue,’ and we want Ezekiel 34:16 to be our motto which says, ‘I will seek that what was lost and bring back what was driven away,’” Jones said.
Jones has been working for MSU Extension for 18 years fixing computers, keeping inventory, and managing 18 sites for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
“My favorite part about my job is that I get to meet new people every day. Rather than just fixing their technology and sending them away, I like to get to know them and be able to ask questions and have conversation for the next time I see them,” Jones said.
His team provides support to all the state’s 82 counties. He said every day is different although 90 percent of his work consists of performing backups and reloads.
“I prefer a set schedule, but I really enjoy meeting new people and because of that, I can handle change. I also have to prioritize which problem or meeting is more important in my day. It can be stressful sometimes, but I’ve learned to think on my feet.”