We are excited to share that right here at Republic, Todd Jackson, Manager, Supplier Diversity, is a proud parent of a Paralympian! Todd's son, Joe Jackson, will be participating in the upcoming Wheelchair Rugby Paralympics set to start August 24, in Tokyo, Japan. We recently caught up with Joe to learn more about him and his exciting accomplishment.
Q. How did you become interested in Rugby? I’ve been interested since I was introduced to the documentary Murderball, which is about wheelchair rugby and the athletes that competed in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece. I’ve been playing since 2008, after I got my first rugby wheelchair in 2007, so it’s been 13 years.
Q. What are you most looking forward to about your first Paralympics? I’m excited for the opportunity to represent my country at the highest level of competition. I’m looking forward to battling and competing as a team member against some of the best teams in the world. I will be focused on living and competing in the moment.
Q. What is important for people to know about the Paralympics? It’s important for people to know that the athletes have made so many sacrifices trying to get here. Most athletes dedicate four years or more to make a Paralympic team and the people’s support that helps them get to this moment, doesn’t go unnoticed.It’s important that the support team be recognized, and I appreciate all who support me and the USA team. Expect to see greatness and many athletes competing at the highest level. Expect to see athletes who move differently, make spectacular athletic plays for Team USA putting it all on the line for a common goal, winning the “Gold.”
Q. How much do you train? I grew up in Chandler, AZ, and now live in Maricopa with my wife, Sara. When I’m home, I train for two hours 5-6 days a week. When I’m at training camps with my teammates, in Birmingham, AL, at the Lakeshore Foundation Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, our training will last anywhere from 6-14 days. There, training is three hours per day, twice a day and changes based on the length of the training camp.
Q. Can you tell us more about the Joe Jackson Foundation? Yes, a great question! Our Mission is to Educate, Enable, Encourage, and Empower (The 4 Es) Individuals Living with Paralysis. We want to help inspire individuals disabled by SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) to continue living actively. People don’t understand being active is quite expensive. We provide grants for adaptive sports equipment, adaptive scuba lessons, and grants for adaptive driving lessons. Adaptive equipment cost anywhere from $3,000-$12,000, or more. When compared to a pair of basketball shoes or attire, you can see how adaptive equipment is expensive. Additionally, adaptive equipment is custom fitted to the person, and most custom items are naturally more expensive.
Thank you, Joe, for spending time with us. Our Republic team of 35,000 employees will be cheering you on at the Tokyo Olympic Games!