WILLIAMSON — Terry Jackson is trying to give back to his community. Even though he now lives in Columbus, Ohio, the 1997 graduate of Williamson High School has organized his annual back to school giveaway for the Tug Valley area.
“I started the school giveaway back in 2008 as a way to give back to the community that I came from,” Jackson said. “I still call Williamson home. The event is held at the Southern West Virginia Action For Youth Center at 318 Liberty Heights in Williamson.”
Jackson, who was a standout basketball player for the Wolfpack, says his grandmother, Mentola Jackson, runs the youth center and helps him run the event. He now works as a case manager working with individuals who have developmental disabilities. Jackson has been in Columbus for 10 years.
“I purchased all the supplies, got some help from the STOP Coalition with pizza, games, bags, and other items. We gave the supplies out to the kids. I’ve always been one to try and help out the next kid as much as I can.”
“Over the years, I’ve had more and more people ask about helping out, donating money and supplies,” said Jackson. “So far I’ve kept it going. I call it the B.U.T.T.O.N.S. giveaway, in honor of my best friend who passed away back when we were young kids”
Jackson’s friend was Richard Hairston, who died in 1990, and his nickname was Buttons. “So, I came up with the meaning for B.U.T.T.O.N.S as: B is Believe in yourself; U is Utilize your resources; T is Talk to each other; T is Teach each other; O is Open doors for one another; N is Never give up and S is Smile always,” Jackson said.
“I try to invite the community to come out and participate because it seems that the only time the community gets together is during a tragedy or something,” said Jackson. “I want to try and expand it to reach more and more kids from outside the immediate area of Vinson Street where I grew up. So hopefully I can do that this year. Over the years I’ve had lots of people pitch in and help out, all from just word of mouth.”
This year’s BUTTONS event is scheduled for Saturday, August 11, at 12 noon at 318 Liberty Street in Williamson. To contact Jackson about making a donation you can call him at 614-743-0309 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be free school supplies for those less fortunate, food, drinks, games and plenty of fun and community togetherness. Jackson’s motto is, “The ultimate measure of success is when you do something for someone else … without expecting anything in return.”