Picking up the Pieces: Union football coaches come together to help player
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - At 5:30 am on June 8, Cameron Jackson’s alarm rang to wake him up for football practice.
“My alarm went off and I had paused it. I was going to stay asleep for a little bit longer until about 6 o’clock and we heard a big boom,” Jackson recalled. “I didn’t know what it was and I got really scared. It woke my grandparents up, it woke everybody up and when we went outside we had seen a tree that had fell on top of the house.”
Heavy rain and strong wind from Tropical Storm Cristobal likely caused part of the tree to break off and fall onto the house. Sleeping in the living room, only inches away from where the tree fell, was Jackson.
Jackson’s mother LaToya recalled pulling up to the house and seeing where the tree had landed.
“When I got there and had seen where my son was, because he usually sleeps in the same spot when he stays with my mom, so when I got here and saw where the tree had fallen, the first thing was ‘Cameron was right there, Cameron was right there,‘” Jackson said. “Once I had seen he was alright, I came outside and had to let a few tears go just because I knew my son was okay, my parents were okay and my brother was okay.”
That morning, Jackson had text Union head football coach Jordan Wren to let him know he wouldn’t be at practice because of a family emergency, explaining what had happened. Coach Wren told Jackson to let him know how he could hope.
“As soon as we broke from practice I called him and he said a tree cutting company was fixing to come cut it down,” Wren explained. “I said ‘Okay well, just drop a pin and I’ll come over there and see what we can do to help.‘”
Coach Wren and the rest of Union’s football staff showed up at Jackson’s grandparents house, immediately jumping in to help drag branches and other debris away.
Cameron’s mother LaToya documented the coaches helping in a post on Facebook, sharing that when she told Coach Wren thank you, his response was “That’s what family does.”
“We have a whole new coaching staff, so some of those coaches have never even been on this side,” Jackson said. “To see them show up and just show out was amazing.”
Coach Wren shared how his job as head football coach also requires him to be there for his players away from the field.
“Cam’s grandad came to practice and the first thing he said was thank you...and I knew what he was talking about. He’s just thanking for the help,” Wren said. “In a head coaching position I don’t look at it as a position of power, I look at it as a position to go serve.”
As for Jackson, he is back out on the football field preparing for the upcoming season and is thankful him and his family made it out of a scary situation unharmed.
“I thank God every night that I’ve still got my grandparents and I am still alive,” Jackson said. “I thank God for bringing my coaches to help us.”
The homeowners chose not to repair the house, leaving Jackson’s grandparents and uncle displaced. The family has found a new home for them to live in but it will require repairs. The family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for those repairs.
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