A volunteer at the Church of the Nativity in Dubuque, Emily Jackson (’22) helps out by mowing the parish lawn. This past week, that duty took on an extra dimension.
As part of the Fourth of July weekend, the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Jump Team performed a jump in the church’s lawn across the street from the Vis as part of a series of Heroes Support Heroes events around the city.
Father Andy Upah, the pastor of Nativity, approached Emily about mowing a star on the lawn to mark the landing zone. She agreed. She then suggested some enhancements. In addition to cutting the star, Emily, with help from her sister, Kelsey, painted the star and a perimeter to provide a safe zone for both jumpers and spectators.
“I liked the idea, and it just seemed like something I would enjoy doing,” she said. “They were all for it!”
From Tuesday evening until Friday morning, Jackson would invest 21 hours into creating a space that would serve as a focal point for the public event. She was putting the final touches on the space just hours before Golden Knights made their jump.
“I just wanted to do it for fun. Seeing all the people here and how excited they are is exciting to me. It just makes me happy,” she said.
The Army team jumped from a Chinook helicopter from 5,000 feet into the landing zone created by Jackson on Friday morning before a crowd of a few hundred onlookers.
“It feels like a reunion to me,” she said. “I am involved in the Nativity community and the Loras community, and this is where I live. To see them all come together is really amazing.