Helping one who served:
a former marine who has multiple sclerosis gets a hand from businesses and the community through the season for caring program.
The first time Tracy Jackson got a glimpse of her mother’s friend in a Marine uniform, she was hooked.
“I liked his uniform,” Jackson recalled. “The dress blues with the red stripes on the pants.”
Shortly thereafter, the 18year-old Missourian rebuffed her mother’s desire that she go to college, and Jackson headed to Virginia to join the Marines. She began an eight-year stint in the military and met the man she would marry.
The story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending, but don’t tell that to Jackson, who loved her time in the Marines. She worked in offset printing, publishing everything from military manuals to church pamphlets, and she lived in a variety of places, from Albany, Ga., to Hawaii.
After ending her Marine service as a sergeant, she relocated in Central Texas to live near her brother in 1997. Nine years later, she was diagnosed
with multiple sclerosis.
She lost her job in medical billing after a short stay in the hospital and has not been able to find work because she is now in a wheelchair with very little use of her limbs. She has been living off Social Security disability and Meals on Wheels and More assistance.
Jackson is part of the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which helps 12 featured families and hundreds of others like them through local nonprofit agencies.
“I was really independent my whole life,” Jackson said. “The MS has affected me mainly on my right side. Some days are good; some days are not.”
It’s hard to judge from her moods, however, because she is perpetually upbeat and doesn’t allow herself to wallow in depression. Her two sons, Anthony and Antoine, help out, but it was tough emotionally when her daughter, Linda, left for college in August.
When Jackson’s story first appeared as part of Season for Caring, she had a long list of needs, but thanks to Amplify Credit Union, Factory Mattress Sales, Eclectic Eyewear, St. David’s HealthCare and Statesman readers, many of her needs have been met.
What’s left will improve her quality of life. Jackson still needs an accessible two-bedroom apartment that will have a place for For more information on Jackson or to donate an item on her wish list, contact Meals on Wheels and More at 476-6325 or MealsonWheels andmore.org. Linda to stay when she visits. She also needs an accessible van to take to and from doctor’s appointments. Finan-
Tracy Jackson has been living with multiple sclerosis since 2006. She is a divorced mother of three and an ex-Marine. lAurA SkElding / AmEricAn-StAtESmAn