Tee Jackson and his wife Jackie have long been involved in the Athens community, both professionally and spiritually. Coach Tee Jackson has worn a number of hats at Athens High School. He’s coached everything, taught history and P.E., been the Vice-President as well as the Principal, and has a solid handle on the mandate that as believers, no matter what our vocation, we are “to put the Lord first.”
In 2013 he finished his career as an educator, retiring from the Giles County TN school system as the Director of Schools. Then a new door opened. Athens Rehab and Senior Care made a position available for Tee and his wife Jackie to head up the Community Relations team. That involves wearing a number of hats once again, as chaplains, liaisons to the rest of the community, lecturing, loving, encouraging, and in a word, ministering. Speaking of ministering, Tee is ordained, and has been involved in the ministry of First Baptist of Athens for years.
Jackie spent 30 years in the health care field as an administrator, and worked for Dr. Frank Cauthen and Dr. Wendell Shannon, beloved local family practice docs here in Athens. She was their office manager. Her love for seniors and the subsequent sense of calling to minister to them came from her grandparents, Mary and Eunice Stockard. (Eunice was her grandfather.) They were happily married for 82 years, and both lived to be 99 years old. They even ended up in the Guiness Book of World Records as one of the longest marriages ever known! “They were a wonderful example to me,” says Jackie.
Her experience working for the docs comes in handy in her new position, as one of her responsibilities is to help residents and their families through the maze that is Medicare, answering questions, explaining benefits, because, as she says, “regulations change daily.”
Limestone County has six Senior Centers, and the Jacksons visit each one once a month. They do events that are one part devotional, one part fun, one part educational, and even involve a door prize. They call on area physicians, attend Chamber of Commerce events, and in general make themselves available to the citizens of our town.
With specific regard to ministering to the residents and staff of Athens Rehab, they find spiritual care to be most satisfying. They begin each staff meeting with prayer, and they often have the residents ask for Tee and Jackie to pray with them. Tee also loves what he calls his “card ministry.” He has all kinds of business card size cards that have scriptures or inspirational sayings on them. If he stops by and they aren’t there, there is a special outsize one that he leaves for them when they come back to the room.
On a more practical level, a staff worker recently lost her home to fire, and Tee went to the site to offer support even before the flames were doused. No two days are alike, and the sweetness and joy that emanate from the Jacksons makes it obvious that they are “in the zone” in their new position at Athens Rehab and Senior Care Center. Tee and Jackie, welcome aboard!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner