Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Julia Jinkens receives the 2012 Great Brooksvillian award

In the Brooksville-centric eyes of City Council member Lara Bradburn, old-time banker Alfred McKethan really is a George Washington figure. He definitely would get a spot if the city had its own Mount Rushmore. So would Margaret "Weenie" Ghiotto, the founder of that once-great attraction, Rogers' Christmas House Village, and so, absolutely, would Paul Farmer, the Hernando High graduate who became a renowned doctor to the poor. And on Thursday night, Bradburn and the rest of the council presented the 2012 Great Brooksvillian award to a woman who might also be a candidate for the fourth and final place on the mountain: Julia Jinkens.

"We've had some pretty neat nominations for this award, but not every nominee has measured up to the word 'great,' and with Julia that's not even a question. Her place in history is secure," Bradburn said the day after Jinkens had been presented with a commemorative plaque, a Brooksville-themed embroidered blanket and a big bouquet that seemed to contain every rose in Hernando County.

It also seemed as though just about everyone in Brooksville showed up at City Hall for the ceremony. Every chair in the council chambers was filled. So was every space along the back wall. So, pretty much, was the entire outside hallway.

The lineup of people who spoke in tribute to Jinkens was a who's who of, if not greatness, at least prominence: Bradburn, banker Jim Kimbrough, Mayor Joe Johnston III and even two other Great Brooksvillian candidates, Jan Knowles and Beverly Lewis.

"We were nominated for this presentation, but we were rooting for Julia," Lewis said.

Kimbrough called Jinkens a catalyst for all kinds of good things that have happened in Brooksville and jokingly said he had a back door installed in his office at SunTrust Bank/Nature Coast because Jinkens showed up so often, seeking charitable donations.

Johnston said that the council members all jumped at the chance to introduce the motion to nominate her for the award, mostly because they couldn't believe it hadn't been done already.

"It was like, 'How stupid were we all these years?' " he said.

That's kind of what I thought when I nominated her last spring. (Sorry, I had to brag a little.) I figured that the city could grant this award to somebody who's still alive, somebody whose selection wouldn't cause any controversy.

There's been more of this than you might have expected since the first award went to McKethan a decade ago.

On one side are people such as Bradburn, who takes the city's history seriously and considers its former leaders to be legends. Their greatness hasn't been recognized, she says, and this award is the perfect way to do so.

On the other side are folks who think it should go to more ordinary do-gooders, folks who want to make this a "citizen of the year award," Bradburn said dismissively.

Jinkens has been more like the citizen of the last four or five decades.

If there was a group of kids or parents who had a chance to go out of town to do something special, she made sure there was a fundraiser to pay their way. She packed trucks full of ice for hurricane victims, built floats for parades, organized alcohol-free parties for teenagers, boosted sports teams by staffing the concession stand on countless nights, selling so many boxes of popcorn over the years that trying to imagine the number could make your head hurt.

She started doing all of this not long after she and her family arrived in Hernando County in 1965. And unlike most parents, as Kimbrough pointed out, Jinkens kept at it long after her two sons were no longer the ones being boosted. She kept at it long enough that she went from being known as Brooksville's "Mom" to its "Granny." She kept at it long enough that she could lobby for her own favorite Great Brooksvillian, Farmer, who won the award in 2008.

And, thankfully, she did it long enough that nobody had to strain their memories to talk about her accomplishments when she received the award herself. At 87, she might not organize fundraisers any more. But I'm sure, if asked, she would be willing to make a few calls for a good cause.

And, yes, she also hung around long enough to soak in some of the goodwill that she has spread over the years and that was sent back her way on Thursday night.

In other words, she was so good to so many people, for so long, that she became great — a great example of generosity in a city that could use a little more of it.

I don't know where, exactly, this Brooksville Rushmore might go, though it just crossed my mind that Chinsegut Hill is available.

I do know, like Bradburn, that "Ma" Jinkens deserves a place there as much as anybody.

Julia Jinkens receives the 2012 Great Brooksvillian award 10/13/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 12:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with critical series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]