U.S. Army PFC Todd Jackson was surprised recently with a welcome-home celebration at the American Legion in Round Lake Park and being named the Round Lake Area Exchange Club's Hometown Hero for December.
This month's hometown hero sponsor is the Round Lake Area Park District.
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Jackson attended Round Lake High School and graduated from Joliet Jobs Corps in 2004. He is a Round Lake Park resident and just came home from a tour in Altimur, Afghanistan. He and his fellow soldiers worked on route clearance that entailed sweeping for IEDs.
He earned the Combat Badge during deployment when his unit was engaged in gunfire. He will be at Fort Polk in Louisiana for the next year.
Jackson was registered at the exchange club's site, www.rlaexchange.org/hero, by his mother, Linda Jackson who said, "He joined the Army because he was motivated to serve his country and make a difference in his life as well as the lives of others."
Hometown Hero Project Chairman Sherry Ridge said with the help of the Round Lake Area Park District, Jackson's "Hanging with the Heroes" care package will be filled with beef jerky, chips, snacks and, of course, a piece of home.
All "Hanging with the Heroes" care packages are delivered with a personalized "Hanging with the Heroes" T-shirt (donated by Artrageous of Hainesville), and letters from Round Lake Area Unit District 116 students.
The club will present a plaque on behalf of the December Hometown Hero to his family at their meeting on Dec. 28. The meeting is held at Panera Bread in Round Lake Beach at 7:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
Any and all military personnel serving overseas or in the USA from any of the Round Lake areas, Hainesville, Fox Lake or Ingleside qualify for the program.
If you have a neighbor, family member, friend, employee, employer, etc. serving in the military, register them by going to www.rlaexchange.org/hero -- five minutes is all it takes.
For more information, visit the website or contact Sherry Ridge at (847) 740-2379.