Untorio “Bird” Jones (Photo courtesy of facebook.com/BirdjonesTCU)
2016 Regal King of the Year Award: God’s Bird Flies Home
When someone transitions to live with the Lord in Heaven, the praises often thrown their way can seem a bit cliché.
No one says anything bad about the deceased even though no one is perfect.
However, when Untorio “Bird” Jones, 39, of Houston was gunned down in a local nightclub called the DBar on Dec. 19, the praises came from everyone he ever encountered in life and they were genuine.
“One of the best people I have ever met. He will give you the shirt off his back for anyone. He promoted education, family, business and God. He made everybody laugh,” longtime friend Cory Williams told Click2Houston.com.
This company, Regal Media Group, LLC, knows firsthand how good a person Bird Jones was.
RegalMag.com makes it an annual tradition to honor an African-American man making a positive contribution to his community as the Regal King of the Year.
However, this year is bittersweet because the magazine is honoring someone who is no longer with us physically.
RegalMag.com is in essence giving someone their flowers when they cannot smell them. But the publication is confident that the flower is in fact still blossoming throughout the state of Texas and beyond because of all of the lives that Bird touched in his nearly 40 years on this planet.
Bird would often say, “If you know me, you know me.”
Well, for over 30 years I got to witness firsthand a baby bird develop into a soaring eagle who was determined to lift everyone around him to new heights.
I met Bird as an elementary school student playing little league football against him at Inwood Dad’s Club in Houston.
While I was much closer to his younger cousin Corey Winzer, Bird often victimized me with his practical jokes.
I was still the butt of his practical jokes when I entered Eisenhower High School, one year behind him.
Bird was always the athlete that I wanted to be. He led Eisenhower (aka Big Ike) to two state semifinal football appearances during my first three years of high school. And he went on to star at Texas Christian University (TCU) with future NFL great LaDanian Tomlinson.
But amazingly, as I reconnected with him via social media many years after high school, I noticed he had turned into the man that I aspire to be, always giving back to those less fortunate than him.
Like every adult should, Bird obviously had a profession. But most importantly, Bird had a purpose.
God put him here to work with underprivileged children and special needs children and every day of his life he had a smile on his face giving back to others because so many others had given to him.
One of the people who had given so much to him was former Eisenhower football coach Pat Patterson.
At Bird’s funeral on Dec. 23, Patterson talked about how Bird thrived on the football field but struggled in the classroom.
When Patterson would walk Bird down to work with different learning specialists at the school, Bird would sneak out as soon as Patterson walked away and return to class with his friends.
Unfortunately, because of that decision he missed out on a football scholarship to Texas State University by one point.
However, it is funny how God works because things began lining up for him perfectly after that.
Bird went on to play junior college football at Kilgore College before signing with TCU and graduating with a Kinesiology degree in 2003.
By the time he returned to Houston, it seemed like he knew what God had put him on Earth to do, which was to help underprivileged kids.
He eventually became an assistant teacher at various Houston schools like Wisdom High School.
Not only did he help the children he dedicated his life to, but he also dedicated his life to helping anyone who needed help, including this company.
When Regal was blessed with a talk show called “Regal Roundtable,” Bird went out of his way to help book celebrity guests despite the fact that we had gone our separate ways years before.
He could have easily said no because many people dislike the fact that people often only contact them when they need a favor.
However he tried to help, immediately making phone calls on Regal’s behalf.
The memory of Bird trying to help me despite the fact that I had not held up my end of the friendship will always be my lasting memory of him.
People often say if you do things for someone hoping that they return the favor, then you did it for business and not as an act of kindness.
Bird always helped people out of kindness and did so whenever a person asked for help.
A speaker at Bird’s funeral stated that the world needed more men, and that Bird was a man.
A man tries to help out his friends and family.
A man tries to give back to the community that gave so much to him.
A man puts his children before himself.
A man is extremely intelligent and educated.
Bird Jones was definitely a man.
More importantly, the way he lived his life made Bird a Regal king.
And because of the influence he had on others (especially his children) his throne will not stay empty very long because his friends and family remain determined to continue his legacy of helping those who need it the most.