[Nameplate] Overcast ~ 59°F  
High: 65°F ~ Low: 45°F
Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Fund set up in memory of teen

Saturday, June 7, 2008

(Photo)
JACKSON
Those who knew and loved Dietrich Jackson have a new way to help keep his memory alive.

The Putnam County Community Foundation has announced the establishment of the Dietrich Jackson Memorial Fund. The focus of the fund is to support educational and charitable projects that are geared toward the enhancement of quality of life for Putnam County African-Americans.

Jackson was 17 when he died of an accidental drug overdose on Dec. 15, 2007. He was a senior at Greencastle High School.

"This is a fund that has the potential to grow in strength and influence," said PCCF executive director Elaine Peck. "We envision this fund eventually serving to convene and empower our African-American residents to make strategic investments for the betterment of our community."

Jackson was the son of Treva Jackson and Aaron Pankratz. He was born in Greencastle on June 1, 1990, and lived in Greencastle, where he attended kindergarten at Jones School, until he was 6.

At that time, Jackson's father graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, and Jackson went there to live. He lived in Atlanta until January 2007, when he returned to Greencastle to live with his paternal grandmother.

Jackson was remembered by family, friends and GHS staff as a bright student with musical and artistic talents who was full of promise.

"He stood up for kids who were picked on," said Tyler Wade, the president of the GHS senior class Jackson would have graduated with this year. "He was kind, a good friend, had a big smile and made a positive impact on everyone who knew him."

GHS principal Jim Church concurred, noting that Jackson was "genuine, respectful and friendly." Church said that despite being the "new kid," Jackson made a big impression and became a GHS stand-out.

Jackson saw his position as an African-American in a largely Caucasian community as something of a responsibility, Church said, consistently working toward improving awareness and acceptance of Greencastle's racially and ethnically diverse populations.

Contributions to the Dietrich Jackson Memorial Fund can be sent to 2 S. Jackson St., Greencastle, IN 46135.

For more information about this fund and others at the foundation, call 653-4978.


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Well, goodness, do you think this is the only fund available for people to contribute to in Greencastle?? I'm guessing you don't understand how the Putnam County Foundation works -- anyone can set up a fund through them. If you'd like, I'm sure they would consider setting up a fund for "White Americans." And you're not required to contribute to this fund, of course. There are plenty of other funds you can contribute to if you are interested.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 6:51 AM

whoa Trapper....you better stay in Greecastle and never to move to a big city. You will be eaten alive by all other races with that attitude. There are funds for people of all ALL kinds, you name it there's a fund. I can start a fund for people with curly hair...for gays, construction workers, people with eating disorders.....

The African American thing? Where have you been for the last few decades? Have you kept up with any current events? In case you haven't here are just two small definitions of the word in Random House Dictionary.

Af·ri·can-A·mer·i·can /ˈæfrɪkənəˈmɛrɪkən/ Pronunciation[af-ri-kuhn-uh-mer-i-kuhn]

--noun

1.a black American of African descent.

--adjective

2.of or pertaining to African-Americans.

-- Posted by indtonyc on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 7:54 AM

If I only had a brain

-- Posted by ks on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 11:16 AM

Trapper I agree with you 150%.

-- Posted by bam on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 11:26 AM

what a great way to spend money......sorry my sarcasm button was stuck on, got it cleared, what's wrong with you people! try having something special for white people and ought-o! stupid, stupid, stupid, and no i'm not racist......just white!

-- Posted by gottokno on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 11:36 AM

Please learn the difference between "your" and "you're." And before you submit a comment, check your spelling.

-- Posted by whatweretheythinking on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 12:53 PM

it's very disheartening to see the negative attitudes people have about a fund set up to help other people, no matter their color. instead of focusing on the good that could come out of this, most of what is on here so far is negative and nasty. whatever happened to seeing the good in things? how about thinking about what this fund could provide for a needy family, for example, rather than complaining that it's not good enough or not what YOU think it should be?

i mean, let's face it, if we're going to start down this path, let's criticize the American Cancer Society for not sharing their donations with the American Heart Association. what, they hate people with heart problems and only care about those with cancer? no, it's that there are different funds set up for different things. if you don't want to give, don't. this fund is about honoring the life of a boy who was very special to many people. why not let them have that, as a way to honor his memory? there are a lot of people still grieving very, very deeply for dietrich. and i find it very depressing that something meant as a positive celebration of a his life is being torn apart and criticized.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 1:11 PM

Why does this city and school system continue to ignore the mistake this student did? He attended a party and took someone else's prescrition drugs and died! He did not die from an illness he battled most of his life or from an accident caused by another person. He took prescription drugs not intended for him to take. Why not set up a fund to educate young AND old on the dangers of taking prescription drugs?

I'm trying to understand what part of this student's action was "accidental" in overdosing on a drug he was not prescribed. He knew what he was doing. He knew it wasn't right, but yet he did and it cost him his life. Has anyone learned from his mistakes?

There are many other races in the city of Greencastle that could use "enhancement"................why not assist them also instead of just one? Will the foundation turn its back on someone of a different race if they approach them for assistance?

-- Posted by mom in putnam co on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 2:20 PM

No, mom in putnam county, the foundation would NOT turn their back on another fund that supports whites, hispanics, or any other race. If you'd like to set up a fund with them, go apply! It's not hard. (You should, of course, be prepared for lots of criticism from the community.)

Again, this fund is meant as a POSITIVE thing. It does not take away from what happened and from the mistake that Dietrich made which cost him his life. I can't believe all of this negativity. It's kind of unreal.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 3:06 PM

in my opinion, funds such as this one cause more problems than they solve in a small, non-ethically diverse community like greencastle. this is because there's three types of people...those who think it's unfair to have funds set up for just one ethical group, those that think no-one but whites should have rights and lastly, those like me who think that it's unfair and unjust to set up a fund for blacks when there was no fund set up for a kid who dies while i was in highschool due to an overdose, and who was white. his name was dave phares and he's not forgotten. now, i'm not saying this because i'm racist...i'm just asking you that if dave was black would he have gotten more attention? it's been well over 6 months since jackson died and he's still getting put in the paper...there was hardly an obituary for the white kid.

it's time the residents of putnam county opened their eyes and quit discriminating. one putnam county resident shouldn't be valued more than another because of his skin color. this fund would be alot more successful and taken alot better with everyone if it had been set up to assist teen drug users, regardless of color...god knows putnam county needs it...that's a main reason why i don't live there any more.

-- Posted by putcosoldier on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 3:35 PM

It is incredible that there is such venom about a fund designed to help a person of color further his education or to somehow improve the quality of life for our community.

You claim not to be racist, but I think you might be deceiving yourself.

Have you ever experienced discrimination because of the color of your skin? If not, then you probably can't understand what it is like not to be White in our society.

I highly recommend that you read the book "Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?". Then come to a discussion of the book to be held in August. You can get the book free. Call the library--653-2755.

It is an excellent book and will benefit anyone who reads it, no matter what color skin they have.

-- Posted by ilovejosie on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 4:10 PM

Remember that this fund is set up by people who love and miss Dietrich. You can set up a fund in memory of your friend if you want to. Contact the Putnam County Foundation and get people to donate.

-- Posted by ilovejosie on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 4:15 PM

trapper and mom I am with you 150% as well. Thank you for taking the time to write to this.

-- Posted by flygal026 on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 6:01 PM

Taking drugs is wrong...period!! Why discriminate? Last I heard...If you are bron in America, you are an AMERICAN!! Who cares what color,race, or religion you are? Why can't we all just be Americans? Lots of AMERICANS take drugs.....

-- Posted by sad_but_true on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 7:17 PM

My concerns about contributing to this fund are many. Why was he sent to live with his Grandmother? Was he not doing well in Atlanta? Did his parents not want to deal? What was he exposed to as a child, was he in trouble in GA prior to attending GHS, obviously, this child had many problems or he would not have been doing drugs (Accident or not). I would rather establish a fund for drug abuse and mental health issues in his name. Then it does not matter as to the race. Not a fund for an overdosed victim. As always, Putnam Co.responders see only a black and white issue, not the true problem. You might seem a little more creditable, if you simply used spell check.

-- Posted by pbyers on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 7:44 PM

pbyers, I don't see how any of the questions you posed are relevant. This young man is dead and those who mourn his loss are honoring his memory by helping others in a similar situation. I really don't understand why this would be a problem for anyone.

(juanvaldez thanks for being a voice of reason)

-- Posted by greencastlenative on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 10:43 PM

I thought it might be educational to post this URL -- this is a list of all of the funds that the Putnam County Community Foundation has established. As you can see, it says, "Establishing a legacy fund with the Community Foundation is simple. The Community Foundation is dedicated to making EACH PERSON'S UNIQUE CHARITABLE VISION a reality."

http://www.pcfoundation.org/giving/list_......

As you can also see, there are many, many funds available for people to contribute to, and they all have different emphases and purposes. You may not agree with the purpose of the Dietrich Jackson Memorial Fund -- in fact, many people may not agree with or support the purposes of any one of the funds the foundation manages. Fine. These funds are not set up with the permission of every single person in the community -- again, they are "dedicated to making each person's unique charitable vision a reality." If someone would like to set up an anti-drug fund for the community, or a fund in memory of a friend or family member that has passed away, I'm sure they would be happy to talk to you about it.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 8:16 AM

Dietrich was a good student in Atlanta, in Honors classes, but wanted to come to Greencastle to be with the part of his family that lived here. He lived with his dad, who taught school in Atlanta, and missed his mom, cousins, and brother and sisters, who live here. He was not a kid in trouble and did not have problems, other than being a teenager and, after moving to Greencastle, being a black kid in a white community. Lots of teens experiment. Sure it's stupid and wrong, but so is underage drinking, smoking pot, speeding, and lots of things that lots of people do. I think he paid the ultimate price for his reckless behavior, and it's his family who is suffering and trying to make something good come of something tragic. If you want to contribute to something else, there are many many funds at the Putnam Foundation. Or you can establish your own.

-- Posted by ilovejosie on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 8:17 AM

Oops, I see the URL didn't post properly. Try this:

www.pcfoundation.org/giving/list_of_fund...

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 8:20 AM

Thanks juanvaldez!

-- Posted by indtonyc on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 8:48 AM

Dear Trapper, I find it so interesting that your degree of anger correlates so closely with your degree of illiteracy. Relax, take a few deep breaths, and try reading a few good books before you log on again.

-- Posted by hero5 on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 10:12 AM

Trapper--it's understandable that you might be upset if you think you lost out on a job because of the need for society to redress some of the wrongs that have occurred since Black people were brought to the US in chains. But do you really think you would have a fairer chance in life if you had black skin?

There is plenty of discrimination going on every day--it's not just in the past.

-- Posted by ilovejosie on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 3:49 PM

I didn't mean to minimize the death of this young man. But,I continue to believe that, drugs are drugs, and he made that decision to take them. I was only trying to point out that this fund is not a black and white issue, it is about drug abuse and mental health. I do apologize to the family if I offended them in their time of grief.

-- Posted by pbyers on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 6:19 PM

hero5 your post was pretty funny but I don't think trapper will understand. You might have to explain what illiteracy means.

-- Posted by indtonyc on Sun, Jun 8, 2008, at 7:28 PM

Why does this city and school system continue to ignore the mistake this student did? He attended a party and took someone else's prescrition drugs and died! He did not die from an illness he battled most of his life or from an accident caused by another person. He took prescription drugs not intended for him to take. Why not set up a fund to educate young AND old on the dangers of taking prescription drugs?

I'm trying to understand what part of this student's action was "accidental" in overdosing on a drug he was not prescribed. He knew what he was doing. He knew it wasn't right, but yet he did and it cost him his life. Has anyone learned from his mistakes?

There are many other races in the city of Greencastle that could use "enhancement"................why not assist them also instead of just one? Will the foundation turn its back on someone of a different race if they approach them for assistance?

-- Posted by mom in putnam co on Sat, Jun 7, 2008, at 2:20 PM

Isn't the "accident" part the part where the kids see he is passed out and they panic instead of seek help that could have saved his life? Then this fund and ensuing silliness and disrespect wouldn't be happening. It is a tragedy all the way around. The bottom line is this- either give to the fund or don't. But focus on the real point and then shut up about it. You all are beginning to look fooling droning on and on.

-- Posted by RedHot on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 7:34 AM

No one is ignoring his mistakes, trust me. The family is just choosing to set up a fund to HONOR him, not point out a mistake (an ACCIDENT) that he made. Lets hope when you all pass away someone honors the things you tried to make better in this world instead of shouting that you messed up.

You all have made up my mind to donate to his fund. And yes, I'm WHITE.

-- Posted by greengirl44 on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 1:00 PM

Shame on many of you. Way to turn something positive into a bashing fest. His death WAS an accident and there is an attempt being made to honor the good parts of his life and the things he tried to change in this world while he was alive. Heaven forbid the family remember his positive aspects instead of shouting to the world the mistakes that he made. Hopefully none of you, or your children, pass away anytime soon because we may have a hard time finding any honor in your lives.

Theres funds, scholarships, etc. for MANY various groups that ARE based on color, religion, even your HEIGHT. Anything you can think of, there is a fund for it. I got a scholarship for writing an essay on why I like having white teeth!!! I bet all of you with nasty, yellow, decayed teeth are chomping at your dentures just thinking about it.

I think I'll go ahead and donate to this fund. Thanks to all of you for making up my mind.

-- Posted by greengirl44 on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 1:13 PM

GCRESIDENT, don't yell. your note is very hard to read and it's annoying. also, dietrich wasn't in a gang in atlanta. that actually makes me laugh. i think i'll make another donation to the fund based on that ridiculous rumor. anyway, i am very sorry about your brother, and you can start a fund for him if you want. read the other comments about this.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 5:25 AM

There's apparently great misunderstanding about the Putnam Country Foundation. They manage funds, they don't start them. Funds are started by individuals, and Dietrich's family started one in his memory. You can do the same. or contribute to any of the many funds already in existence. There's a scholarship for 4-H members, one for 4-H members involved with livestock, one for a kid who has a parent who is an active member of the Purdue Club, one for members of the local Catholic church, and another one for active members of Greencastle Christian. Plenty of chances to donate to whatever cause you want or create your own fund in memory of your cousin, or brother or friend. The foundation would welcome your money.

-- Posted by ilovejosie on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 7:33 AM

My Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young man. As a graduate of GHS 1985 and an American of African decent, most Putnam county residents do not have a worldview that would allow them to understand the pressures of being a miniority in a dominant culture and a teengager. GHS had, and unless things have changed, does not know how to deal with race or culture.

-- Posted by Smitty85 on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 8:50 AM

Thanks, Smitty. It's sad to see that there are still so many closed minds in GC. I was at GHS when you were, and I thought things had changed somewhat since then. Maybe they have to some degree, but there still is so much intolerance and bigotry, as Dietrich experienced in his life, and now in his death. Anyone who thinks that this fund is somehow using him as a "political pawn" is sadly (and ridiculously) misinformed. Once again, we see someone mangling the positive intentions behind this fund. So sad.

-- Posted by juanvaldez on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 9:19 AM

Juan- you are very welcome. The one bright spot in this whole tragic affair is the dialogue that I pray people in G-castle will/are having regarding race and youth culture. I have not lived in IN for many years but I keep my finger on the pulse of G-castle, I was born and raised there, I hope one day I can be a part of the process that will continue to facilitate change.

-- Posted by Smitty85 on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 12:49 PM

Anyone actually know what happened to the others at that "party"? Never heard anything about trials, plea agreements, etc? Just wondering. God Bless all the families involved, especially Dietrich's.

-- Posted by proudmomma on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 4:42 PM

"If i had a collage that was the white collage I would be sued. But there is an united negro collage fund that is just for blacks."

C-o-l-l-a-g-e or C-o-l-l-e-g-e?

Spelling lessons aside, how is an United Negro Collage/ege relevant?

This is exactly why I'm so embarassed to call myself a Greencastle resident at times during my semesters in town. I do not understand how such racism-mixed with ignorance-is so accepted anywhere in 2008.

I applaud how proactive the family and friends of this teen are being in hopes of educating someone to not make the same mistake. I'm appalled by the cowardice of those who post anonymously on this forum raising any discrimination card...how stupid.

-- Posted by PatrickWagner on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 1:38 PM

For everyone that feels a need to downgrade my cousin and only speak negatively about him you really need to get a f#@#ing life. He's gone and we can't ever bring him back but HE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED, LOVED AND RESPECTED by his family. Two weeks ago Dietrich would have turned 18 years old. He didn't get a chance to see that.......but still you insensitive, ignorant people will sit on your computers behind your fake screen names and completely bash my cousin!?! That is both sickening and sad. This has been up for a week and you're still posting?!?!

I love you so much Dietrich!!!!

-- Posted by sunshinenap on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 1:05 PM

My condolences to the family of this boy. Sad....sunshinenap needs to use such language (most of us know what you intended there) and name calling (ignorant) of anyone that expresses an opinion that doesn't match your own. You must be a fine upstanding citizen with such a large vocabulary and knowledge of how to use symbols in place of profanity.

-- Posted by ExHoosier on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 6:48 PM

Exhoosier, Maybe you're not as close to your family as I am and don't understand my anger. My cousin was still a child and he died. How would you feel if someone you loved and lost was crucified every single time his name is brought up in this paper(by some)? I won't apologize for my language or my name calling. It isn't about expressing opinions it's about the complete disrespect that some people in that community have towards my deceased family member. Say what you want about me I'm still here and I can defend myself. Dietrich is not and that's why I speak my mind and speak up for him. Many of you that speak negatively of him probably didn't even know him maybe never even met him but you feel the need to type whatever with no disregard to his family's feelings. We are still mourning. It has only been 6 months! I have every right to say whatever I want and I will never sit back and let anyone speak badly about him.

-- Posted by sunshinenap on Tue, Jun 24, 2008, at 1:15 PM


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account on this site, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.