TAMPA, Fla. — The military community continues to remember the impact Vincent Jackson left through his work.
Steve and Cheryl Sitton remember how he touched their lives.
“It was not anything to do with PR for himself or anything,” said Steve.
The Sittons are the Gold Star parents of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton. He was killed while serving overseas in 2012.
“He was just a very loving person,” said Steve of his son.
They said that year, Jackson honored him. The Sittons were invited to tour One Buc Place, meet Jackson and watch a Buccaneers game.
“It was very special. I mean we love the Bucs, but then to have him of all the players, to have this kind of an organization and to reach out to us. We’re just a mom and dad and for him to reach out to us in honor of our son it was really special,” said Cheryl.
Theirs is one of many memories about Jackson’s commitment to the military community.
“You could tell this really meant a lot to him to be able to meet us and honor us and honor our son’s life,” Cheryl said.
MacDill Air Force Base said his dedication to the service of others is what they strive for. They stated:
Vincent Jackson was an invaluable member of Team MacDill, serving as an Honorary Commander from 2017-2019. He established rapport with service members instantly upon arrival here in Tampa Bay.
In 2016 he served as an ambassador for the 6th ARW, flying to Charleston AFB, SC, to meet with civic and elected leaders on behalf of the 6th. He was an avid visitor of Tinker Elementary as he read to students often. For the 2016 air show he flew with the Thunderbirds as a part of their aerial demonstration.
He cared about military members' families, often donating care packages to those in need of support. Additionally, he developed “Jackson in Action 83”, his charge to support military families by providing support, focusing on the educational, emotional, and physical health of children. His mission was to help military parents continue to raise their children and maintain close bonds, even when separated by thousands of miles.
His dedication to the service of others and altruistic nature are what Team MacDill strives for, and the memory of him and his efforts are ingrained into the history of MacDill.
The Jackson in Action 83 Foundation hosts a yearly baby shower. It meant a lot to expecting military moms like Valory Canfield.
“They do it every year but to me, it’s like it meant so much to me because I could have the emotional support from my family but like I knew everything else was taken care of and I really have not needed to buy anything else because of their support,” she said.
Ed Wickliffe recalled when he was surprised with home renovations.
“Two years ago I was facing County code violations on my house. It was a time of great need for me. Jackson, his foundation & other volunteers truly helped me. On Veterans Day, they replaced my roof, repaired the siding, painted the house, cut trees & maintained overgrowth in the yard. I am a veteran in my 70s. There is no way I could have done all that financially or physically. Without Vincent Jackson, his foundation & other wonderful volunteers. It was an unforgettable Veterans Day, and I am forever in debt to Vincent Jackson & all the other volunteers,” Wickliffe said.
Moments standing out, come down to something as simple as a photo, too.
Jason Potter said he made a cup for Jackson and gave it to him after a game.
“He left his family and came to take a picture with me and talk, not a lot of the stars do this. The things he and his wife were doing at MacDill Air Force Base was amazing. He will be missed and I send prayers to his family,” Potter said.
Perhaps Jackson described it best, though, during an interview in 2015.
“They are the true heroes they are the people I look up to and I want to do anything I can to support them,” Jackson said in 2015.