Parade to feature Santa Fe Trail
The selection of John Jackson as this year's Grand Marshal for the Maple Leaf Festival seemed obvious to Nancy Crisp.
In a year when the festival's theme is "Celebrating the Santa Fe Trail," she said it's appropriate to honor Jackson because of his dedication not only to the Maple Leaf Festival, but to the Santa Fe Historical Society as well.
"I think in this year when we're celebrating history, it's good to remember the people who have been in this community a long time and contributed like John has," said Crisp, who nominated Jackson as Grand Marshal. "I personally have a lot of respect for those people like him."
Jackson, who was born and raised in Baldwin and has spent much of his life here, has been a part of the Santa Fe Historical Society and Maple Leaf Festival Committee for several years.
He said he got his interest in the Santa Fe Trail and its history from his parents, who were part of the original historical group.
Jackson, who has been a part of the historical society since 1993, has served as its president for the past eight years.
He has a vast knowledge about the Santa Fe Trail, as well as the Battle of Black Jack and other are historical sites, which he likes to share with tour groups, ranging in age from elementary students to senior citizens.
"It's interesting to pass on the information, particularly to the school kids," he said, "because this area has the most history in the sense of the trail."
In addition to sharing historical information with people, Jackson has served the last 10 years on the Maple Leaf Festival Committee.
"John is one of the long-standing members," Crisp said. "He's dependable, and one of the balancing members of the committee."
For several years, in addition to attending monthly meetings and helping with odd jobs on the committee, Jackson has been in charge of what some people would consider one of the more important aspects of the festival.
"It's not so glamorous, but I take care of ordering the port-a-potties," he said.
Lloyd Lam, festival parade organizer, said Jackson is a key member of the festival committee.
"He's been dedicated to this whole Maple Leaf thing for many years," Lam said. "He cares to participate in it every year.
"He's just a great man."