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‘Digger’ has history of giving back to community

By: Don Chaddock
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COMMUNITY SERVICE — Jim “Digger” Williams is responsible for a lot of good deeds around town, many of them going unnoticed. The city Christmas tree is decorated thanks to his efforts and many events happen because Digger gets involved. For 49 years, he has helped organize the annual Easter Sunrise Service at Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake. The next one begins at 6 a.m. on Sunday, April 12. There is no admission charge. “We started attending the first year they had it,” he said. “I was always a helper during that time.” He said he served as usher, helped with parking and coordinated the generator. When the church that was originally putting on the event decided they needed to focus on their own congregation and dropped the service, Digger and his family jumped in to take it over. “My daughter and my wife said, ‘We can’t let that happen,’” he said. “So, we went out and did it for ourselves. We’ve done it ever since.” Digger and his wife, Sharon, moved to town in 1960, jumping right into volunteering for community events. “I was the arena coordinator for the rodeo,” he said. “My friend was a bull rider, so we used to go with him all over to rodeos. Then after we moved to Folsom, we heard some people talking about putting on a rodeo here. That got my attention.” If an event goes on in town, there is a good chance that Digger is involved. He helps with FolsomLive, BizExpo (now known as Folsom Connection), and Concerts in the Park and served as a volunteer coach at Folsom High School for 23 years. “I started in ’63 coaching baseball, football and some wrestling,” he said. “I was the time keeper for 37 years for most Folsom High football games. I did freshman, junior varsity and varsity. I missed one game in those 37 years.” Digger is proud of the town he calls home. “I’m a volunteer and I love doing it,” he said. “We’re the only community that I know of that people take ownership of their town.” He was a funeral director and undertaker for 21 years at Miller Funeral Home, earning him his distinctive nickname. “(The late) Jack Kipp gave me that name,” he said. Digger and his family also enjoy music. “We’re a singing family,” he said. “We love singing.” They attend Rolling Hills Christian Church in El Dorado Hills. If you see the family around town, or at the Sunrise Easter Service, say thank you for all they do. * * * READER MAILBAG — Craig Covello, the president of the Folsom Music Boosters, wasn’t very happy with our coverage of the new bridge opening in last week’s paper. Craig writes, “I saw the Folsom Crossing story today in the Telegraph and was very disappointed that there was ... no description or pictures of our 120-member Folsom Marching Band as the first to cross. The paper version only used one word, ‘band,’ not Folsom High School Marching Band and there was no context. There is one picture on the online version, but again, no details. (We) went to great lengths to get our kids there and I am sure many Folsom High families who subscribe to the Telegraph will be disappointed. ... I consider our Folsom High Marching Band a significant symbol of our city and sense of community.” Thanks for the letter, Craig. We do have photos online of the opening ceremonies with many of the different participating organizations. As editor, I chose to cover the bridge opening from the perspective of those attending the festival and how the new structure would impact their driving times. I believe readers spending 15 or 20 minutes less time sitting in a vehicle so they can spend more time with their families is the most important benefit of the new bridge. We appreciate the efforts of our student musicians and have featured them in many stories and front-page photos. That will continue, of course, but we need to balance our coverage of the Folsom High music program with all the other schools and other organizations vying for ink. * * * TID BITS — Folsom’s big bridge party drew far more than expected. Nine shuttle busses transported 6,000 people to the bridge opening on March 28 while many others walk or rode bicycles into the event. “The official police estimate puts attendance in excess of 10,000,” said Sue Ryan, the city’s public information officer. “They lined Folsom Lake Crossing Road and when that was full they spilled over into Briggs Ranch and other areas.” I know I had a difficult time locating a place to park that day and ended up in the neighborhood behind the new businesses on Folsom-Auburn Road near the bridge entrance. “It was a tremendous show of interest from the community,” she said. On a side note, if you’re curious why all those cables were across the roads a few weeks ago, they were traffic counters set up to gauge how heavy traffic was in town before the bridge opened. They plan another count soon to see how traffic was impacted. … Wish a happy birthday to 77-year-old Jeannine Snook, who helped found Snook’s Candies in Folsom in 1963 with her husband, John. Her birthday was April 4. Don Chaddock may be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com