Sticking the Landing: Jackson’s Efforts Enhance Army Jump Event

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.

One of the U.S. Army Golden Knights lands in the target area created by Emily Jackson (’22) across from the Vis.

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.

Emily Jackson (’22) stands in the landing zone she created for the Heroes Supporting Heroes parachute event.
About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).