Washington, March 13, 2019
Madam Speaker, I rise to honor a third-generation servant leader from my community of Tampa, Florida, Harold A. Jackson, Jr. who was born at Tampa Negro Hospital to the late Jacqueline Haynes Jackson and the late Harold A. Jackson, Sr. Jackson learned about service at a young age as his father served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Tampa to become one of our hometown’s pioneering African American civil rights attorneys and led local desegregation efforts. His mother was a beloved educator and retired after 33 years as an elementary school teacher in Tampa.
Mr. Jackson followed in his parents’ footsteps of service and dedicated his professional life to the health and well-being of our community. In 1978, Mr. Jackson started a 30-year plus career with the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. He rose through the ranks to become a Recreation Area Supervisor during a time of tremendous growth and change for this county. He planned, organized and directed the overall operations of community-based recreation programs, which are critical in promoting healthy, prosperous and connected communities as well as building social equity and support for working families. During his tenure with Hillsborough County, he continued to build on his legacy of community service. For 27 years, he served on the board of directors for Tampa Family Health Centers, a federally qualified health center. He was elected chair and vice chair of the board of directors on several occasions. During this time, Tampa Family Health Centers grew from one clinic to 14 and greatly expanded access to comprehensive health care services for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, especially uninsured or underinsured individuals.
After retiring from the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, Mr. Jackson began a leadership role for Tampa Family Health Centers as Community Relations Liaison. He truly extends himself to help meet the needs of the medically underserved, whoever and wherever they are. His efforts while serving on my 14th Congressional District of Florida Puerto Rico Recovery and Assistance Task Force were nothing short of extraordinary and very meaningful at a time when displaced Puerto Rican families faced significant challenges in re-establishing their lives following the devastating landfall of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Mr. Jackson ensured families who relocated to Tampa had access without barriers to the services of Tampa Family Health Centers, facilitating their medical appointments to cut down on wait times with scheduling and transportation challenges.
He is a graduate of St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa, a 125-year old historically black school that today proudly continues to provide families and students excellence in education. Mr. Jackson returned to St. Peter Claver to serve on the school’s board of directors and in 1994, as president of the school’s development council, he launched a $2 million capital campaign to establish a state-of-the-art learning environment. Mr. Jackson also graduated from Tampa Catholic High School in 1974 and went on to complete his criminal justice degree from the University of Tampa.
Mr. Jackson strongly exhibits the unequivocal mark of a servant leader, one who quietly aspires and inspires leadership by consummately doing good – going the extra mile. His contributions to community initiatives are numerous – helping to launch the University Area Community Development Corporation, cofounding a youth council in our community that has now grown to be one of its largest and serving as organizer for Tampa’s largest Veterans Day Parade.
Madam Speaker, on behalf of a grateful Tampa Bay community, I am proud to recognize Mr. Harold A. Jackson Jr. for his servant’s heart and carrying forth his family’s legacy of community service across the Tampa Bay Area.