Justin Jackson, an Eagle Scout with Troop 797 in Seffner, shown with his mother, Gloria, and his father, Gregory, was recently awarded the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms Award because of the heroism he displayed in pulling a stranger from a car minutes before it burst into flames.

The highest award that a Boy Scout can earn, the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, has been awarded to Justin Jackson, of Gulf Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America Troop 797. Jackson is an Eagle Scout, a senior at Armwood High School and a 6-foot-2, 311 lb. football player.
To put this honor in proper perspective, we need to understand a few facts. First, only five percent of all Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The fact that Jackson is an Eagle Scout is news in and of itself. Secondly, the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated unusual heroism and extraordinary skills or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save life at extreme risk to self. Since its inception in 1938, only 231 Scouts have received this award nationwide. Jackson truly is a hero and a model citizen.
Jackson received the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms Award at a ceremony held earlier this month at First United Methodist Church of Seffner. He received this honor because he risked his own life to save the lives of a person he loved – his mother – and a person he did not even know.
In February of last year, Jackson had picked up his mom, Gloria, from choir practice. They were travelling on C.R. 579 when a Honda Odyssey ran a stop sign and crashed into the passenger side of the Jackson vehicle. The vehicle spun around and the air bags deployed. After Jackson forced open the passenger door to get his mother out, he saw flames coming from the hood of the Honda. Jackson ran over and literally lifted the occupant from the vehicle and dragged her to safety. Minutes after, he got Ameena Shabazy from the Honda, it burst into flames.
Jackson, who was pretty low key when asked about the event at the award ceremony, simply said, “Scouting helped me with that night. We learn that it is always good to help someone.” Jackson’s mother was much more emotional at the awards ceremony. She remembers the incident very well. “I am so overwhelmed with joy and appreciation. Words can’t express how I feel right now,” Gloria  said. Gregory Jackson, Justin’s dad, said, “He’s an unbelievable young man. Everyday I learn something about him.”
If you would like to learn more about Scouting and the medal awarded to Justin Jackson, please visit www.boyscouting.com or www.scouting.org.

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