Marine Corps Military Child of the Year 2017 Jackson's Story

“I love seeing people’s faces light up and smile”



Marine Corps Military Child of the Year 2017 Jackson's Story

“I love seeing people’s faces light up and smile”

When Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp volunteer Jackson learned that he was overjoyed as he explained, "My mom and I cried at that incredible honor." This national award recognizes one young person from each of the six branches of the Armed Forces for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life.

“We almost couldn’t believe it,” said Somer, Jackson’s mother. “For him to be selected over all of the other military children that were nominated is a testament to his work ethic and personality. It meant so much for him to be recognized for all his hard work and dedication.”

Jackson’s work ethic and personality were on full display during the two summers he volunteered as a mentor at Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp, which provides a week of growth through adventure as campers are matched up with motivated high school student mentors.

Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp mentors are high school students, recommended for that role based on their leadership and commitment. As the child of a military family, Jackson understood the unique needs of the program recipients. Mentors are fully trained for their role before spending the week with camp participants, beginning an adventure they will continue together throughout the school year.

Marine Corps Military Child of the Year 2017 Jackson
Marine Corps Military Child of the Year 2017 Jackson

Jackson: “The camp helped me grow as a person. It was a sacred place where we connected as a family. I believe the kids felt the same way. They had to trust and listen to us in order to get through the week.”

“Jackson loved the Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp,” Jackson’s mother added. “It was the highlight of those summers for him. I think he enjoyed the experience as much as, if not more than, the kids he mentored.”

Jackson: “The thing I liked best about Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp was bonding with the children,” Jackson adds. “They became like brothers to me. The first day or two the campers don’t really talk much, but seeing them open up to all of us was unlike any other feeling.”

The Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp is not the only place where you will find Jackson volunteering. “I like to help out the community where I live. I want it to be the best that it can be,” says Jackson, who suffers from skeletal dysplasia, a condition that hampers the growth and development of his bones and joints. Now as a student ambassador at the University of Alabama, he assists incoming freshman during orientation and move-in day. Jackson continues to demonstrate his leadership skills and strong desire to serve others. “I love seeing a smile on someone’s face. Making others smile doesn’t cost anything but time. If I can brighten their day for just a moment, I’ll take the chance.”