Boy Scouts honor Jackson

John Jackson (holding award) is pictured with family and friends at the conclusion of the Distinguished Citizen Award banquet. Pictured with him are, from left, Zach Westlake, Collin Jackson (son), Bobby Jackson (brother), Debbie Jackson (wife), Sarah Jackson (daughter), John Sharp, and N.F. Jackson (brother).

Rockport resident John Jackson received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the South Texas Council Boy Scouts of America during a special dinner in his honor Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Soloman P. Ortiz International Center in Corpus Christi.

Guest speaker was Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, a longtime acquaintance of Jackson.

“I met Johnny in 1975 when we were both working to get Phil Gramm elected,” said Sharp.

He noted the Texas A&M System has more students who were in the Boy Scouts than any other university system.

Recognizing Jackson’s selfless work in Aransas County, with the Boy Scouts, and in countless other areas, Sharp said, “When you read what John has done, that he is not paid for, he will say he got it from his dad.”

He also noted that Jackson will be the first to tell anyone that any accomplishments he has attained in life are due to the foundation he received in the Boy Scouts.

Sharp thanked the crowd for supporting the Boy Scouts, referring to the record-setting amount of money raised through the evening’s event.

He said he was always a shy kid, and Scouting got him out of his shell.

“I will always be grateful for Scouting, and for those who have given money (to support) Scouting,” said Sharp.

A moving highlight of the evening was a video filled with testimonials from friends Jackson has worked with through the years in the South Texas Council, as well as friends and associates in Aransas County.

After the Distinguished Citizen Award was presented, Jackson said, “I want to convey my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for this honor. I don’t do things seeking or expecting recognition - but it’s nice to receive it anyway, especially from people whom I hold in very high regard.”

He said he has several passions outside his professional life.

“Besides my family, I guess the top three include my church, Scouting, and education. Add to that, history and music, and there are many other close seconds.”

He said when looking back at his youth, he realizes the path he took was heavily influenced by Scouting.

“The values it teaches, and its leadership development are unequalled in my opinion,” said Jackson.

“All of this began with being raised in a Christian household with committed and supportive parents who believed in their four kids and wanted the best for them. And Scouting, of course, was one of their top priorities.

“My mother was our Cub Scout den leader, and though my dad was not able to be a troop leader, he was always there on the troop committee, and later was tapped out as a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow the same night I was.”

He said his dad had an incredible work ethic that each Jackson child inherited.

“When I think about Scouting, it’s not just something I did. It’s who I am,” said Jackson. “During my many years in the Boy Scout program, and my seven years on the staff at Camp Karankawa, the path was set for the rest of my life, and that is the main reason I have continued it during my adult years, as well.”

He said his story is not unique, and the room in the Ortiz Center was full of people who can tell you the same thing.

“I have really enjoyed being around my peers as an adult Scouter because we all share the same passion and these peers are almost always respected community leaders in the Coastal Bend and South Texas. Scouting is a true brotherhood that covers not only South Texas, but the whole country, and many parts of the world,” said Jackson.

He noted he has truly been blessed in his life, and it is important for him to continue giving back to the program that heavily influenced who he is.

Jackson said he tends to support and/or get involved in things that are many times the most difficult, often because no one else wants to tackle them.

“I prefer to take on projects which are significant, most worthwhile, and will make a lasting, multi-generational positive impact,” said Jackson. “When I get focused and committed, I try very hard to overcome the obstacles, persevere and never give up until the mission is accomplished. Perseverance, taking necessary risks, and never giving up, is something I inherited from my parents, and fortunately, Scouting in South Texas has been a major beneficiary of that mindset.

“I am humbled to be among the list of former honorees - most of which I have personally known, admired, and respected over the years.

He thanked everyone involved in the evening’s activities, but especially Chancellor Sharp.

“I’ve known John almost 50 years, and of course followed his political career for years as our State Senator in Aransas County, as well as his other statewide roles - and now as Chancellor of the Texas A&M System.

“I did not go to Texas A&M but Texas A&I, so I guess I am an Aggie by default. Last month when they beat Alabama, I was especially proud to be one!

“To all of you who were willing to support this event with your attendance and financial support - in person or virtually - I thank you the most because this event’s proceeds are critical to the future of Scouting in South Texas. You chose to be here and participate, and on behalf of the South Texas Council, I want to thank you sincerely for making that choice.”

(Note: Jackson is the co-founder of The Rockport Group. He began his financial services career in 1992 after working in his family’s seafood business for the previous two decades. He has served Aransas County in many capacities, including as founder of the ACISD Education Foundation and the 100 Club of Aransas County. He was named a Texas A&M – Kingsville distinguished alumnus in 2007, and was inducted into the University’s Football Hall of Fame.)

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