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A call to duty

September 11, 2002

On May 14, 2001 Purvis Jackson set off to fulfill a life-long dream. Purvis Jackson said, "It was something that I had always wanted to try throughout my life and I felt the opportunity was there and went ahead and tried it."

Jackson, then a coach for the Monroe High Tornadoes, enlisted in the Army Reserves. Monroe High head coach Vernorris Bradley said, "And he said that's what he wanted to try and go do and I took my hat off (to him) and said, 'Okay coach, I hate to see you go but I understand what you want to do.'"

But what started off as just a sixth month commitment turned into a year long fight against terrorism. "I had had my sights set on coming back last November but I made the adjustment and along with the help of friends and family it turned out real well," Jackson added.

Jackson was in Fort Lee, Virginia when the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington occurred, less than two months later he was activated, and on his way to Germany. "We (my unit) were the main support for the humanitarian effort and also we were supplying special forces in Afghanistan with ammunitions and supplies."

Now, a year after the attacks Jackson is back in Albany teaching math at Southside middle school and running the offense for the Monroe Tornadoes. Bradley said, "When I heard that he was coming back it was like me getting a first round pick in the draft."

And today as the nation looks back, Jackson too will reflect on last year's events. And along with his students and players give thanks. "We talked today about the many people who lost their parents, their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and how blessed we are for that event not to have touched us here in Albany, Georgia directly like that."

Posted at 12:00 AM by kevin.mcdermond@walb.com

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