each year and wrote to today’s troops. In his pocket he kept a blackened piece of steel plate. He had carried it since World War II. During one battle he finally got to fall asleep during a low in the fighting. When he woke up he picked up his drinking cup hanging on his chest. It had a hole in it with this piece of steel in it. He told me that if not for that cup, the steel would have killed him.”
This year the COVID-19 pandemic lent an uncertainty as to how the scrolls would be signed and delivered. As Jackson was working on a plan to make that happen, Congressman Andy Harris, who had signed Jackson’s scrolls for decades, wanted to be sure his message got through this year. Pre-pandemic Jackson made the scrolls available throughout the year at various locations so many across the Mid-shore had the opportunity to sign. Harris, a veteran himself, hand delivered his letters to Jackson at home to be included with the Christmas scrolls.
Jackson learned in November that mail might be cut off to Afghanistan due to the postal reduction.
“First time in 26 years of doing the Christmas scrolls for
deployed U.S. Troops to have no place to send them,” Jackson wrote to his followers on social media.
But that wasn’t to be the way the story played out. A military contact Jackson had made over the years, reached out and made sure there would be somewhere to send them.
Good news at last, Jackson wrote, thanks to my “good friend Stuart Spears who has put the scrolls on DFAC walls in Afghanistan for years. Your messages will be on the walls this Christmas at Kandahar Airfield.”
This year when the scrolls were finally received, SSGT James Hageman with the
379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron based out of Kandahar wrote to Jackson and his wife. Hageman said his unit is comprised of airmen from across the county, but he was born and raised in Boonsboro, Md. The banner sent by Jackson hangs in one of the dining facilities and is a reminder of the love, prayers and support from back home, wrote Hageman.
“It is never easy being away from home during the holidays, but knowing it does not go unnoticed means the world to all of us,” he said. “We are very grateful for the support of true Patriots and Americans like all of you.”