BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — This story starts with an email from Boynton Beach retiree Ruth Weiss.
"I think I saw your show and I thought 'oh what a great idea he needs to hear from me'. I wrote to the station and lo and behold two days later you called me," said Weiss.
We talked about her nominee for Inspiring South Florida, her friend Sue Jones. Jones is a retired nurse with over four decades of experience in the medical field.
"She’s always been a wealth of nurse knowledge of theres ever anything wrong she’s my go to person for tell me about this or tell me about that," said Weiss.
Jones and her husband retired early and moved to Boynton Beach in 2017 full-time. Rather than put her feet up she became part of the boots on the ground effort to promote nutrition among the senior citizen community.
"I can’t sit still, I need to get busy, I need to find some of my nursing organizations, I need to get involved I need to do something," said Jones.
Palm Beach County Black Nurses Association, T Leroy Jefferson Medical Society, Legislative Black Caucus, and Palm Beach Harvest are all part of her community activism at 71 years old.
It expanded starting in March of last year when COVID-19 made landfall in the U.S.
"I really thought that people would take it seriously and they did not and then we saw it snowball and then it was, okay we need to have an impact here, what can we do to impact our seniors?" questioned Jones.
She got to work, connecting with local and state leaders to get seniors appointments and transportation for testing and eventually vaccinations, all while battling misinformation. It’s an ongoing effort that keeps her busy.
"It didn’t happen overnight but we were able to get those vans and vaccinators and go out to the homes, be it on Sunday morning, be it on Saturday afternoon," said Jones.
Humility is one of her strong suits. Despite being dubbed a healthcare hero and gaining recognition from the mayor of Boynton Beach, Jones’ real reward comes from something simpler - helping preserve her community one vaccine at a time.
Jones said, "Yes it gives me great pleasure that I see them on Monday morning. That’s my pleasure that they took the vaccine. They were afraid, they wanted to see their loved ones, live and go to work. They wanted to see their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s rewarding to me."
Those who know her say it best.
"She’s clearly saving lives in Boynton Beach," said Weiss.
She's retired and still helping the front line.