COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Hundreds of people visited the Eisenhower Golf Course at the US Air Force Academy Friday to play in a tournament to in honor of NFL Pro-bowler and Widefield High School alumnus Vincent Jackson.
Jackson passed away unexpectedly in February. Money raised at the event benefits the charity he started with his wife Lindsey, the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation.
"His passion really lies with supporting military children and families," said foundation president Allison Gorrell.
"He would be one of the first to tell you, he didn't want to be remembered as a football player, ever, he was equally as passionate about his business ventures and his philanthropic efforts as he ever was about being a professional football player."
Chris Smith, a US Navy veteran who grew up as Jackson's best friend in middle and high school, helped the group to organize the event. He said the foundation was Jackson's pride and joy.
"This is an opportunity to carry on Vince's legacy. His presence here in Colorado Springs will never fade away as long as we have an opportunity to do this every year."
The mission of the foundation is to support the educational, emotional, and physical well-being of children from military families. Jackson's parents both served in the US Army and Smith said he had a strong desire to help children who come from a similar background.
Over the years, the foundation has awarded $2,500 college scholarships to a student in Tampa Bay, Florida, and from Widefield High School.
Lucas Moore is the foundation's Widefield High scholar for the Class of 2021. He said he plans to study chemistry and physics at Colorado Mesa University this fall.
"It's just an incredible honor to be the recipient of this, to see the military community still looking out for each other," he said.
Gorrell explained that the money raised at the golf tournament will help the charity to widen the scholarship application pool next year.
"We're actually going to expand past Widefield to all of the greater El Paso County area high schools to military-dependent youth," she said.
In addition to the scholarship program, the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation also promotes reading programs, holds baby showers for military moms-to-be, and purchases front row tickets to Buccaneers games for military families.,
A Widefield High School graduate, Jackson played for the University of Northern Colorado before being selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
The star wide receiver played for 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was selected to the Pro Bowl three times.