"One Boy USO" brings mission to Keesler

  • Published
  • By Susan Griggs
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
Cody Jackson brought his personal mission to thank military members to Keesler last week.

The soft-spoken 11-year-old from Alpharetta, Ga., made Keesler a part of his ongoing quest to thank as many military members as he can by shaking their hands, welcoming them home from deployment or sending care packages to military members serving overseas.

In just over two years, he's raised funds to send more than 6,000 pounds of care packages to deployed service members and has personally thanked more than 18,000 veterans.

Also known as "One Boy USO," Cody was invited to Mississippi to be the keynote speaker at the state American Red Cross Everyday Heroes luncheon in Jackson on March 28.

"I like to let our military know that we care and we support them," said Cody, who was attired in a Young Marines uniform and sported a high-and-tight haircut.

The young ambassador joined guests of Keesler's Fisher House for dinner after visiting the local USO in Gulfport March 26.

The next morning, Cody returned to the base to visit the air traffic control tower with Tech. Sgt. David Hough to learn firsthand what it takes to ensure safe landings. He received an 81st Operations Support Flight challenge coin from Maj. Joshua Pitler, commander.

Cody's next stop was Davis Manor, where students from the 335th Training Squadron live. He was greeted by the Bulls' mascot, several squadron officials, military training leaders and some of the dorm's residents. Cody joined squadron members for pushups in the courtyard and watched combat control students from the 334th TRS jog past during their morning physical training. After a dorm tour, Maj. Vondray Sanford, 335th TRS director of operations, presented him with a T-shirt and squadron coin.

"We were glad for the opportunity to meet Cody," remarked Tech. Sgt. Janis Petry, 335th TRS military training flight chief. "We were so honored and excited to spend some time with him during his visit."

Cody's final Keesler destination was the 81st Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennel where he was greeted by Maj. Brian Fitzpatrick, commander, and Tech. Sgt. Chris Perez, kennel master. He was able to watch a demonstration and learned about the importance of the canine corps, both on station and at deployed locations.

During his visit, Cody distributed his own business cards that said, "Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our nation. Thank you for protecting us."

He finished up his busy day with a visit to the Armed Forces Retirement Center and the Naval Construction Battalion Center, both in Gulfport. He was accompanied by his parents, Ken and Kelly Jackson; his sister, Brittany, and Leslie Pitre, American Red Cross armed forces representative.