Vincent Jackson is a 31-year-old wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But, more importantly, he is one heck of a class act, because he just purchased 400 tickets for the military to take in a hockey game.
Sporting News' Kami Mattioli reports on a story that should yield smiles from all corners of the NHL and NFL world, as well as put all things well into perspective.
Jackson was in attendance for the Lightning's eventual 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, serving as the team's "Social Captain."
Here is more, as Fox's Kelly Nash spoke with the receiver during the first period:
Jackson explains why he decided to buy so many seats for the military, explaining with a smile on his face: "It's the least we can do. Our military men and women are out there, making the ultimate sacrifice, including their families and everything they go through."
Jackson continues, stating that the cause is close to his heart: "I grew up a military brat; I know what it's like. I know what they are going through, so it's exciting to come out here."
As Mattioli reminds, this is the second year in a row that Jackson has pulled off such a gesture. Here he is last year, explaining a bit more about the impetus behind his organization:
The Jackson in Action 83 Foundation aims to "provide support to military families, focusing on the educational, emotional, and physical health of the children."
The mission statement goes on to state, "Our job is to provide support and tools to help military parents continue to raise their children and maintain close bonds, even when separated by thousands of miles."
Jackson, through his foundation, hopes to support each military family as they go through something extremely difficult, which is spending a great deal of time apart.
Fortunately, he has found a way to give a modicum of relief in the form of these wonderful gestures. Gestures, by the way, that are not lost on the masses of military families he has touched.
Here is a sampling of how things played out on social media spheres throughout the night.
@VincentTJackson What an incredible thing you did tonight! Thank you for being so awesome! Thank you to our service men and women!— Victoria F Oliver (@vfortugno) March 25, 2014
Jackson just finished up his second season in Tampa Bay, garnering over 1,200 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
However, the people have more than just a receiver. They have someone who enriches the community with a kind heart and a big smile.
Just two years in, Jackson and his bulk buy of Lightning tickets is a huge hit, which hopefully means we have seen only the initial throes of a glorious tradition.
Some athletes understand that the benefits of being a professional athlete hardly end at the fame and salary. Jackson is one of them, and he is using his reach to make the most of his stay in Tampa Bay.
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