IRMO, S.C. — The Okra Strut Festival is a 46 year long tradition in the Town of Irmo.

It's commission has had leaders come and go but one will be remembered for years to come. 

Community member Randy Jones has worked with this event since around 2000. He has held many titles: photographer, volunteer, Commissioner and fighter for his life

In 2017, Jones began a tough battle with throat cancer that he is still facing today that ultimately caused him to step down from the Okra Strut Commission.

"“I went through radiation, chemo… they thought it was gone… it came back," Jones told me while closing the tube in his throat. 

Jones had his tongue and jaw removed. A piece of his fibula bone from his leg now replaces his jaw. 

"He was active working at the Strut in between the remission and when it came back again," longtime friend Larry Slaughter brags on Jones. 

Jones said that during his treatments, Slaughter and Councilman Julius "Bunny" Waites, along with others, helped take him to and from the hospital. 

"Nobody's worked as hard as Randy," Slaughter told me, Jones politely shaking his head beside him. 

Jones was invited to the Commission meeting tonight for what he was told would be a presentation. 

RJ and LS
Randy Jones and Larry Slaughter in Jones' home.

"The Okra Strut Commission voted two months ago- there’s a lot of things we agree on and some things we don’t agree on- but it was unanimous," Slaughter told a room full of people at the meeting, "We gave Randy the title of Commissioner Emeritus, and so you will be a Commissioner of the Okra Strut as long as there is an Okra Strut my friend."

Jones told me that Irmo is a great place to live with great people and that he is going to keep on going as long as he can.

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