LAKEHURST – Resident Jermaine Jackson recently received a very special award. Jackson was named the 2019 Citizen of the Year.
Lakehurst Mayor Harry Robbins presented the award to Jackson during a Borough Council meeting. Observing the honor was his father, his wife and his two children.
Municipal Clerk Maryanne Capasso said the borough’s award is a tradition dating back to 2004. It is given to a person who distinguished themselves by their dedication, perseverance, and service to the Borough of Lakehurst.
“Jermaine demonstrated his dedication to the Borough through volunteering his service and time for many borough events. Jermaine is also the founder of Taking Back Our Communities, a program that brings drug awareness to the communities,” Capasso said.
“Every year, for the past three years, Jermaine has had a barbeque at Lake Horicon and everyone is invited at no charge. He has food, entertainment, and information of drug abuse for those going through addiction and those affected by it,” she said.
Joining him for his special honor was his wife Ashley and their two children Vesphera, 2, and Ziara, 1, and his stepfather Michael Pharms.
Jackson said, “I put together drug and alcohol events. A friend of mine passed. I was shocked to learn from my brother one day who called me at work that my friend had overdosed in the bathroom of a pizzeria.
“That bothered and scared me. I wanted to do something because I have children and didn’t want to see anything happen. That was three years ago in 2017. My wife helped me every step of the way. We held a rally event to bring awareness of the problem at the Community Center in Lakehurst,” Jackson said.
“The event drew about 125 people and we followed up in the summer with a barbeque with music and a bounce house and it was a day of fun…I think that is what it is all about for people to come together. The reason I think people do what they do (in regards to drug and alcohol abuse) is because they feel they are all alone but they aren’t,” Jackson said.