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Andersen remembers Top of the Rock assistant manager

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carissa Morgan
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
"I come to you today with a heavy heart. The 36th Services Squadron, along with the 36th Wing, lost a special person last week. He was a son. He was a father. He was my friend," said Maj. Alex Gaines, 36th Services Squadron commander, to the men, women and children gathered at James Jackson's memorial service June 1.
At 59 years of age, Mr. Jackson passed away May 24 while performing his duties as the assistant manager of the Top of the Rock.
Many co-workers, friends and family gathered to remember Mr. Jackson. A few recounted memories they had of Mr. Jackson.
"'Jack' (Mr. Jackson) was the type of person that if you wanted something, you called 'Jack,'" said Abraham Amison, a co-worker. "Right now 'Jack' is at rest."
The first Four president Airman Alexandria Bland worked closely with Mr. Jackson on several events.
She said she first met Mr. Jackson when she volunteered for Monte Carlo night at the Top of the Rock. Although she had never seen the inside of a casino, she said he showed her the ropes.
"He welcomed me and the other volunteers with open arms," said Airman Bland. "By the end of the night I was an experienced Black Jack dealer thanks to the teachings of Mr. Jackson. He had so much faith in me that he let me deal at the table all by myself."
At the end of evening, Mr. Jackson invited the volunteers to Wing Night that following Thursday.
"It was his way of thanking us," she said. "I was the only volunteer who showed up and Mr. Jackson bought hot wings for me and sat with me the entire time while trying to persuade me to become a club member - Mr. Jackson was always doing his job!"
Major Gaines recalled his first memory of Mr. Jackson. The two met July 5, 2006 at the Oceanview Conference Center before Major Gaines' change of command.
"A few things impressed me about him right off -- his warm smile, the spark in his eyes and the way he put you at ease. He had a genuine smile. It wasn't fake and it wasn't just there to be there. He really cared and his smile always put me and those around him in a good mood."
According to Major Gaines, Mr. Jackson always displayed work ethic. He said that everything he did while assigned as the assistant club manager was done with passion and excellence.
"He went that extra mile to ensure all special events and programs was done with class," he said. "The true measure of a person is if he made a difference in other people's lives. I say that James Jackson made a difference. James spent over 30 years in the Department of Defense and he made a difference by touching the lives of thousands of people. Down south we have a saying for special folks like James Jackson - ' He's good people.'"
Mr. Jackson's work ethic was also noticed by his co-workers.
"He made my job so easy," said Tech. Sgt. Kenney Lewis, the part-time assistant in club operations at Top of the Rock from 2000-2002 and 2003-2005.
Sergeant Lewis is now stationed at Hurlbert Air Force Base, Fla. He called the base to pay his respects as soon as he learned of Mr. Jackson's memorial service.
"Mr. Jackson taught me everything about running the club, inside and out. He took me by the hand and led me through all the procedures."
Looking around the memorial service, Major Gaines said, "As you can see James had a lot of friends that cared about him. I count myself lucky to be in that group."
Mr. Jackson left behind a legacy and was a friend to everyone.
"He accepted everyone and never said 'no' to anyone," said Sergeant Lewis. "It seemed like he was put here to ensure everyone was happy and content. He was a 'people first' person."
Airman Bland said it best.
"He was always positive and willing to help others," said Airman Bland. "The way he spoke was like he was everybody's relative and he was so easy to get along with. If I there were people like Mr. Jackson, the world would probably be a happier place.
Mr. Jackson is survived by his wife Dominga, and his children: Kimberley, Dearic, Kevin, Kenyatta, John, J Thomas, Robert and Charles V.

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