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A call to duty

January 28, 2003

Until a few weeks ago everything seemed to be going Purvis Jackson's way. The Monroe High offensive coordinator had big plans for the Tornadoes, which made just their third trip ever to the playoffs last year.

"I tell you, we're really excited over at Monroe about this group that's coming back. We had some excellent senior leadership last year that got us to the playoffs," Purvis Jackson said.

Things were going well off the field too. "I'm scheduled to get married in June." Then the Army reservist got a call that would suddenly put his life and coaching career on hold.

"I received word January 11th that we were going to be partially activated, my unit in Fort Valley, Georgia. They asked for volunteers and my name happened to be the twenty-first name on the list. I didn't necessarily volunteer for it but I guess they saw the need to include me with it."

He departs February 11th for Fort Bragg, North Carolina. "Our job is to kind of reinforce the troops at Fort Bragg." It's the second time in as many years Jackson's unit has been activated, but this time is different. "It's very disappointing to me because once again I have to leave my students and football players at Monroe and you work so hard with them throughout the course of the year, and in football it's over the course of many years."

Coach Vernorris Bradley said, "It's like losing the best player on your team. He means so much to our football program. He does so many things for us besides coach."

Coach Bradley says the door will be open for Jackson to return to Monroe when his service is complete, in the meantime Jackson says he'll remain as close to the program as possible. "I will be calling, and those days that maybe I can get off I will be coming to see them," Jackson said.

Posted by kevin.mcdermond@walb.com