Happy Jagged EDJ Day! (or My Dad is Big Time)
(In a ceremony in Pinehurst Park Thursday, Laurel Mayor Melvin Mack proclaims Saturday as Jagged Edj Day. Pictured with Mack, second from left, are members of the band, Byron Greco, John Helveston, Wilson Dewitt, Neil Thames, Johnny Hozey, and Doug Bush.Photo/Eloria Newell James)
July 16, 2010
By Eloria Newell James | firstname.lastname@example.org | Laurel Leader-Call
LAUREL — Mayor Melvin Mack and the Laurel City Council have proclaimed Saturday as Jagged EDJ Day.
At the Fountain in Pinehurst Park on Thursday, Mack gathered with members of Jagged EDJ and their supporters to proclaim the special day.
Jagged EDJ, who is a band that formed at the height of Beatle mania, had its beginning in Laurel, when five Stewart M. Jones Junior High School boys began playing for chapel programs, graduation dances, and fraternity parties.
Its members are: Byron Greco, lead singer; Doug Bush, bass guitar, John Helveston, keyboard & vocals; Johnny Hozey, lead guitar; and Wilson Dewitt, drums.
“We formed in 1966 and then started coming back for class reunions,” Helveston said. “After graduation from high school, band members went separate ways and the band was dissolved.”
The group reformed in 1998 to play for the reunion of the R. H. Watkins High School Classes of 1972 and 1973. It was so well-received, that The Jagged Edj Jam has become an annual event.
Organizers said this year’s event will take place at the Laurel Hotel and Conference Center.
The band’s manager, Neil Thames, “The Colonel”, organizes sponsors and The Edj Chicks help with details to make the event memorable.
When not performing as the band, the members conduct varying lifestyles.
Greco, son of the late Sam and Noonie Greco, is a sound engineer in Hollywood. Bush, son of Imogene Bush and the late Fred Bush, is a CPA/missionary to China.
Helveston, son of Eschol Helveston and the late Jake Helveston, holds a Doctorate in Divinity degree and is a minister in San Jose, California.
Hozey, son of Ira Hozey and the late Susie Hozey, is a professional musician on the Miss Gulf Coast/New Orleans.
DeWitt, son of Libba DeWitt and the late Dr. Henry DeWitt, owns his own construction company in Hattiesburg.
Mack said “the City of Laurel is honored that these native sons continue to love their hometown and choose to return each year despite their successful, busy lives in other cities.”
During Thursday’s ceremony, Mack declared Saturday as Jagged Edj Day and presented each member of the band and its manager with a key to the city.
Mack said he is encouraging all citizens to join him in “welcoming this remarkable group of men back home and in expressing our gratitude to them for their loyalty to their friends and family members here at home and for their personal examples for us all of dedication and purpose.”
Helveston said the group is proud of their heritage and their visit to Laurel each year is just one way of showing it.
“We grew up here. To be honored by our hometown is wonderful,” he said. “We are proud to be Laurelites eternally.”
**Reposted without permission from the Laurel Leader-Call