In Memory of James Jackson
One of Oak Bays Finest Firefighters
James Arthur Jackson
Survived by his parents, one Brother Andrew Jackson, one sister Bonnie Fields (Dana) both of St. Stephen, NB. two nieces, four nephews, five uncles, four aunts, cousins and his companion Rebecca Keenan.
Resting at the S.O. Mehan and Son Funeral Home Ltd. 23 Main St. St. Stephen, NB. from where funeral service will be held Wednesday September 19, 2007 at 2 PM. with Rev. Dr. Mark Hatfield officiating. Family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday September 17, 2007 from 7-9 PM and Tuesday September 18, 2007 2-4 PM. and 7-9 PM.
Interment at Oak Bay Cemetery, Oak Bay, NB.
In lieu of flowers remembrances to the Oak Bay Fire Dept. or charity of ones choice would be appreciated by the family. Condolences to the family may be made online at www.mehanfuneralhome.ca
As reported in the Telegraph Journal
ST. STEPHEN - Platters of food laid uneaten on the counter Monday, photos of James Jackson smiling covered the kitchen table and about a half dozen people stood together in the tiny kitchen giving each other soft smiles of support.
When they looked away, tears spilled down their faces and they wept silently.
It was at about 5 a.m. Sunday that the kitchen full of people and countless other friends, co-workers and family members lost James Jackson, 20, when his truck veered off Highway 1, flipped over in a ditch and caught fire near Oak Bay, on the outskirts of St. Stephen.
RCMP said Jackson likely fell asleep on his drive home from a friend's home in St. Stephen. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor. A driver passed the accident and called the police on a cellphone.
Jackson was a member of the Oak Bay Fire Department, a team member of the crew that arrived on the scene. Fire Chief George MacLeod said they knew it was Jackson the second they saw his prized possession, a 1992 Ford truck, in flames.
"He was already gone when we got there," said MacLeod. "It was a blessing that the St. Stephen Fire Department came on scene and when they found out it was one of ours, they offered to take over and we gladly accepted their offer."
He said the firefighters undergo a debriefing with mental health professionals to help them deal with Jackson's death, "to help them get through it."
As the firefighters try to overcome their grief, Jackson's family, in a small home on Board Road, was still coming to terms with the loss.
In a way, they were still waiting for him to walk through the door Monday afternoon.
"I heard a car coming and the dogs barking, I thought he was lying on the coach because that's where he usually landed and it was the RCMP," his mother, Louise Jackson said, followed by a long moment of silence.
"That and no truck, so I put two and two together."
As a volunteer firefighter, James was a hero to many, but he was still his mom's little boy.
"He was my spoiled brat, oh he was. I can't help it," Louise Jackson said, with a sigh. "Yeah, that's what they tell me - he's my baby"¦ I mean, if he wanted something he usually got it."
Pictures of her baby were everywhere in the house, hanging side by side on the walls and framed on book shelves, alongside his little statues of firefighters and fire engines and memorabilia of Dale Earnhardt, his favourite race car driver.
"Dale Earnhardt wasn't scared of anybody, he never backed down and he never gave up," Louse said, explaining why her son admired the NASCAR driver, who died in a 2001 race.
James's childhood toy box was sitting against the main window in the living room filled with toy tractors and fire engines still dusty from playing in the dirt. Louise said she was looking through them just the other day with her son.
The family said James was very well-known in the community, a friend of everyone. If you said the name James, people knew who you were talking about. He was a jokester, a giver, always willing to help and always on the go.
"Oh yeah, (he had a) sense of humour. If he was going to say something to you, he was going to say it to you. It didn't matter if you wanted to hear it or not, he would just come out with it," said his mom. "He was always acting smart, being crazy and his favourite saying is stuck right there on the microwave: Get 'er done."
The Jackson house was full of noise Monday afternoon. Everyone was telling stories, the phone was ringing and the clock on the wall was chiming out as time passed by. Three dogs were brushing against everyone's legs and barking out when something happened outside.
They were all James's dogs.
His father, Clifford Jackson, said the smallest one was a stray that his son took in earlier this summer.
"We were coming home one night and he found it on the road. Someone threw it out, just a baby," said Clifford said. "He brought him home to find a home for him and we've still got him."
"And he's not leaving," said Louise.
His family said one of the most important things to James was firefighting. He would drop anything he was doing to be the first at a fire scene. He loved it and he was proud to serve his community.
In his memory, the firefighters and his family are putting on a celebration of his life. It just what he would have wanted, his family says.
His casket will be carried on the back of the fire engine and when it drives past the fire station a group of fire trucks and firefighters from across the region will be there ready to honk their horns and say goodbye.
Now that James is gone, "It will be empty from now on," said Louise Jackson. "That's for sure."
The funeral will be held at Mehan's Funeral Home at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.