Tampa, Florida -- Vincent Jackson excels not only on the field, but off the field as well, and the Bucs are honoring his work in the Tampa Bay community -- especially with children whose parents are in the military -- by naming him this year's Buccaneers Man of the Year.
Jackson is the son of two parents with 25 years of combined military service and feels that it's his duty to give back.
On Veterans Day in 2012, he officially launched the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation to support military families, with a focus on the educational, emotional and physical health of the families' children -- and his effort over the past year have been extensive.
His "Jackson in Action" Front Row Fans section at Raymond James Stadium provides a special gameday experience for dozens of local military families from the MacDill Air Force Base Family Readiness Center at every Buccaneers home game.
In December 2012, he helped coordinate a surprise reunion for Staff Sergeant Austin Story and his family at One Buc Place.
This past June, Jackson showcased his Foundation's commitment to youth health and wellness by hosting children from local military families at the inaugural Vincent Jackson Youth Camp.
The fun-filled event held at One Buc Place and lead by Jackson encouraged physical fitness and camaraderie through relay races and team-building drills, while also sharing ways to overcome the challenges children face while their parents are deployed.
Jackson's efforts to give back continues with his Foundation's "Salute to Reading" program, an incentive-based initiative geared towards third, fourth and fifth-grade classes in schools comprised significantly of children of MacDill Air Force Base personnel.
The program launch coincided perfectly with Jackson's most unique and impactful outreach effort to date: the upcoming publication of a children's book authored by the wide receiver and his wife, Lindsey. "Danny Deals with Deployment" is the first in a series of books by the couple designed to help military families discuss issues surrounding the deployment of a parent through the eyes of the books' main character, Danny DogTags - a young character growing up in a military family.
A week after launching his reading program this October, Jackson led a Buccaneer contingent back to MacDill Air Force Base to host a "Salute to Service Barbecue" with USAA, the team's Official Military Appreciation Sponsor.
The event was just another in a long list of appreciation efforts by the wide receiver, which has included visiting Pearl Harbor and greeting World War II survivors, hosting a large military group outing to a Tampa Bay Lightning game, and helping troops connect with loved ones serving overseas.
"I've always been a guy who was giving back to the community. My dad was really big into it and he still is. As a kid we did a lot of community projects and outreaches for people less fortunate than us. So, I just carry that on my entire career and I try to not only do it myself but I try to bring a few teammates and colleagues on whenever I do events and just show them how good it feels," Jackson says.
As the Buccaneers' nominee for this year's NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, a $1,000 donation will be made to the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation.
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