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Edwards love living in Todd Addition

VALLEY — Ray and Jackie Edwards have lived in the same house on 25th Street in the Todd Addition neighborhood for 45 years and have been really good neighbors not to just those who live nearby but also to those who live throughout the community.

The next door neighbors love the vegetables Ray grows in his garden during the summer months.

“I’ve really loved gardening,” he said. “I love to grow tomatoes, green beans, okra and squash. I especially enjoy sharing what I grow with my neighbors.”

Ray, Jackie and great-grandson Gavin Walden go all out during the Christmas season in getting together Christmas stockings to present to seniors throughout the Valley area. This past Christmas season they made 250 of them, each one filled with candy, fruit, small gifts and a Christmas card signed by both of them. It’s a lot of work to get it done each year. In fact, they are already planning their 2018 Christmas stocking event.

“I really like going to the senior centers and presenting them each year,” said Ray. “When you see the smiles on their faces it makes it all worthwhile.”

The first stockings go to their neighbors in the Todd Addition. The bulk of them are given out at the senior centers in Valley and Lanett, to those who receive a h0t meal delivered to them five days a week and to the residents of Sylvia Word Manor.

Ray and Jackie have been doing this for 25 years now. Ray served as a city council member in Valley for 28 years. For the past 12 years he has been the board chairman for the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

He’s well versed on issues that are important to seniors and is a fierce advocate in their behalf. He likes to quote his good friend State Sen. Gerald Dial on this.

“I’m so much for seniors because I are one,” they both like to say.

“I am really looking forward to the new senior center we are getting in Valley,” said Ray. “I sought that for the last 12 years I was on the council, and I am so appreciative that Mayor Leonard Riley and the current council have brought it so close to reality. Very soon we are going to have one of the best senior centers in east Alabama if not in the entire state.”

Being good neighbors is a two-way street. Jackie likes to talk about how kind and considerate their neighbors are to them.

“O’Neal Mason, who lives across the street from us, is good to watch out for us when we are away,” she said. “And we watch out for him if he is away. Katherine Crawford, who works at the Alabama Visitor Center, is one of our neighbors. She’s a good cook and is always bringing us some of her pound cake, quiche and pepper jelly. We appreciate that.”

Ray and Jackie have had some health issues in the past year but say they are both doing well right now and are looking forward to the future.

“I am really looking forward to that new senior center,” said Ray. “It will mean so much to the entire area, and not just to Valley.”