“He was someone who was always there for you at the drop of a hat,” said Dan Degginger, a close friend of Jackson who’s known him since about fifth grade.
Jackson, a 34-year-old Bellevue police officer, died Monday while on duty, after his motorcycle collided with a car on Bellevue Way Southeast, just south of downtown.
The investigation is ongoing, but it does not appear that the driver of the car was impaired or speeding, the Washington State Patrol said.
Jackson joined the Bellevue Police Department in March 2018 and became part of the motorcycle unit two years ago, according to the department. Before becoming an officer, Jackson worked as an emergency medical technician, volunteer firefighter and was a member of the King County Sheriff’s Office volunteer search-and-rescue unit.
He grew up on Cougar Mountain in Bellevue. Very early on, Jackson knew he wasn’t a “sit behind a desk” type and wanted to find a job that would let him work outside or actively help people, Degginger said.
Jackson worked extensive hours and had a long commute from his home in Cle Elum. But Jackson said the drive allowed him the time to decompress from work so he could be fully present with his family, Degginger said.
No matter how busy he is, he always carves out time to be with his wife, Kelsey, two young children, and close friends. Jackson had recently expressed how grateful he was to be able to dedicate time to his oldest son by volunteering at his school despite work, close friend Kenton Barker said.
“He’s one in a million,” Barker said. “I know this seems so cliché and cheesy, but they don’t make them like Jordan.”
Jackson had a group chat with some of his closest friends — Barker, Degginger and David Campi — where they talked almost everyday, but the group also kept up consistently on Marco Polo, a video messaging app.
Degginger remembers Jackson was an endless well of support when his son was born and has been in the intensive-care unit for over 100 days. There was never a day where Jackson didn’t check in one way or another with, he said.
A lifelong dreamer, Jackson always had had big plans and aspirations, Degginger said. At one point in his life, Jackson had met some speed skaters and moved to Utah and began practicing to make it to the Olympics, but suffered an injury.
“That really made me proud of him,” he said.
Barker met Jackson when he was 17 and the pair soon became inseparable.
“He cared about everyone, and it was it was more than just like, ‘Hey, how are they doing?’ Parker said. “I tried to be half of what he was in every facet of his life.”
Jackson had several hobbies, ranging from cycling and snowboarding, to fly-fishing and surfing, his friends recalled.
Campi met Jackson around first grade. He remembers Jackson as a thoughtful and generous person who was always up for an adventure. The pair embarked on a backpacking trip through Alaska’s Denali National Park for about a week in 2015.
It was an experience Jackson and Campi spoke of often, reminiscing on witnessing the beauty of undisturbed wilderness and pushing themselves to try new things.
Jackson was excited to pass on his hobbies to his 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. He’d already started teaching his oldest how to snowboard, Degginger said.
He was always willing to share his passions with people, Degginger said. In the summer of 2003, Jackson taught Degginger, who was petrified of sharks, how to surf in San Diego. Jackson was so patient, Degginger forgot his fear of sharks.
Jackson had lost his father in 2009 while he was in college, and he often spoke about how he wanted to be the best father he could be, Denninger said.
The friends all shared how lucky they felt to have had Jackson in their lives.
“I just feel like there’s a huge hole in my heart,” Barker said.
Two GoFundMe fundraising pages were shared online. One for a memorial fund that had raised $42,000 on Wednesday and another to help support Jackson’s wife and two children that had raised $13,000.