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.