North Lee Citizen Club names Saltillo Citizens of the Year

Brad and Deana Jackson are Saltillo 2020 Citizens of the Year.

Brad and Deana Jackson have been selected as Saltillo Citizens of the Year for 2020. The annual honor bestowed by the North Lee Civitan Club recognizes individuals who have contributed positively to the community. They are both natives of Saltillo and graduates of Saltillo High School. Brad is principal of Saltillo Primary School while Deana is library media specialist at SHS. They both earned bachelor’s degrees – Brad from Mississippi State University and Deana from Blue Mountain College – Brad received his master’s from Arkansas State University and Deana earned hers from Ole Miss. They were formerly employed in the Booneville school district before heading back to Saltillo. Married 15 years, they have three children: twin sons Cooper and Turner, 11, and daughter Kara, 6. The boys attend Saltillo Elementary School and Kara is a first grader at her dad’s primary school. One of the reasons they were nominated for and received the award is their work within their church, West Jackson Street Baptist Church. Brad teaches Sunday school to fifth- and sixth-grade boys. Deana teaches the same class to fifth- and sixth-grade girls. They are active in other areas of the church’s activities, as well. One of their favorite commitments is their mission trips to assist in the upkeep, maintenance and construction efforts at the 150-child Matamoros Children’s Home in Matamoros, Mexico, about 20 miles south of the Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf of Mexico: “We’ve made several mission trips to Mexico,” said Brad. The trips usually include their own children, who the Jacksons said love to visit the home and rekindle friendships made on earlier trips. According to Deana, her children “have the run of the place.” On a recent Thanksgiving week trip, the Jacksons brought 50 bicycles – purchased by donations received by their Sunday school classes – and assembled them for the grateful Mexican children. “It was amazing,” Deana said of the effort and the reaction from the receiving children. “When you come from nothing, you appreciate all you get,” said Brad. “We have strong connections down there. When you go to places like that, you definitely leave a piece of your heart there.” Later this month, Deana will make the nearly 1,000-mile trip to South Texas to deliver 150 Operation Christmas Shoeboxes – filled with toys and basic hygiene necessities such as toothbrushes and toothpaste – to Dr. Saul Camacho, director of the Matamoros home, who will meet them on the U.S. side to receive the boxes and return them to the home. The Jacksons’ mission trips to Mexico have been put on an indefinite hold since the border is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Jacksons were also instrumental in having the Saltillo Fourth of July fireworks display moved to the high school grounds four months ago; it was in danger of being cancelled due to concerns about the pandemic. All their children participate in sports and Brad coaches his sons in several sports. The couple is dedicated to their careers: “It’s more than a career,” Deana said, “it’s a calling.” The Jacksons will be honored with a drive-through reception Sunday at 1 p.m. in Saltillo City Park. The club meets every second and fourth Thursday at 6 p.m. at Acapulco in Saltillo.

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