Norman Jackson on Giving Back to the Community
Raised in Bel Air, Maryland, the county seat of Harford County, Norman Jackson was heavily influenced by two very strong-willed women, his mother and grandmother. He was educated in the public school system and graduated from Bel Air High School, where his mother had worked for 50 years.
After attending college briefly, Norm decided to work in the government sector, where he proceeded to work six days a week, continuously, for almost 25 years.
In 1995 he was involved in a serious car accident that left him permanently disabled. Seventeen surgeries, and one heart attack later, he credits “the man upstairs” for getting him through all of it. “This was my purpose, a calling in life, a testimony.” And now that purpose has been “to serve and mentor, to give back, to reach out and extend a hand to help. It’s all helped me put my life back on track.”
When/why did you start volunteering at CAMP?
I started with Sundance 2011, because I wanted to be involved in the community and give of myself.
What’s been your best memory volunteering here?
My first Sundance…the excitement, the thrill of being a part of something truly recognizable throughout. It made me feel like a part of the Rehoboth community.
What does CAMP Rehoboth mean to you?
It means a lot of great things to me but especially the local awareness that CAMP creates about the gay and lesbian community.
What events/activities have you been involved with at CAMP?
I’ve volunteered with Sundance 2011 and 2012 and CAMP Rehoboth’s Black and White Beach Ball.
If you could spend a full day with one person, who would it be? Why?
God, because he has given me so much, especially a wonderful upbringing.
“Wouldn’t you like to be a CAMPer too?” How would you encourage someone to get involved with us?
I would encourage people by talking to them about the cause and effects of what CAMP Rehoboth has done for the community overall. I’d also explain CAMP Rehoboth’s mission and goals so that people in the community have a better understanding of what the organization is truly about.
Tell us something that very few people know about you...
I’m a very compassionate person when it comes to life, family, and friends.
First thought that comes to mind when you hear the word “Rehoboth.”
Serenity, peace of mind and the freedom to live…all are welcomed here.
Other than CAMP Rehoboth, of course, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
I also enjoy volunteering for the homeless shelter and soup kitchen that Epworth United Methodist Church runs on Sundays, and whenever else they need me.
Assuming you live here full-time, what’s your favorite thing to do in the off season?
I do live here full time and in the off season I enjoy going antiquing, thrift shopping, and just trying to help others.
Where was your last vacation and what influenced you to go there?
Disney World, in 2010. My mother had passed away in February of that year so my sister wanted me to get away from home.
Friends are coming over for dinner. What will you make?
A southern-style, home cooked dinner with all the fixings.
Who’s your favorite current musician or entertainer? Who’s your favorite of all-time?
I’d have to say that Janet Jackson would be my favorite. She taught me how to take “control.”
What is your favorite TV show currently? Of all-time?
Shown on TV Land, my current favorite is also an all-time favorite, Leave it to Beaver. FYI, it’s on every morning at 9 a.m. on channel 60, Comcast Xfinity.
What is the last book you’ve read? Your all-time favorite?
The last book I read was Janet Jackson’s, True You—A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. Probably my all-time favorite would have to be The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.
People often ask me, “What’s it like living in Rehoboth year round?” I love that question. How would you respond?
I honestly would have to say it was my calling to be here. Since I first started coming here in 1979, it’s always been my dream or goal to live here. It’s just downright great! God’s plan for me.
Would you rather go to the movies or watch one at home? Assuming you have, what was the last movie you watched?
I enjoy going to movies with friends sometimes. The last two I saw were Magic Mike and The Expendables 2.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about writing this column is hearing the stories about how and why our volunteers have made Rehoboth, or this area, their home. Your story, Norm, was an especially special one. You turned a decades old dream into a reality after some challenging personal circumstances, and now we, and the community at large, are all the better for your generous donation of time and support. Our sincere thanks!
Happy Holidays to all of our amazing and dedicated volunteers.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Spotlight? Email your suggestion.