The crew of Station 20, Shelly Beach, this weekend mourned the loss of one of its most ardent supporters.Eric Jackson (66), father of Jeremiah Jackson, one of the longest serving members and one of the most respected coxswains on the base, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday last week.All four KZN Sea Rescue Stations - Station 19, Richards Bay, Station 5, Durban, Station 32, Port Edward, and Station 20 were represented at the memorial service held at the Port Shepstone Baptist Church on Saturday.NSRI Operations Board Chairperson and Regional Director, Eddie Noyons, delivered a short eulogy during the service.Pieter Coetzee, Acting Station Commander at Shelly Beach, said after the service that Eric was as much a part of the base as his son, Jerry, is.“Many of us have known him for a long time and came to respect everything he stood for. He was a man who made a difference because he cared enough to try. A man of his stature will be sorely missed by all who knew him”, he said.A few months ago, Jeremiah put together a five-person team to participate in the Jeep Warrior Race in Ballito Bay scheduled for Saturday 26 July. When the team members realised that Jeremiah would not be able to participate because of the memorial service, they unanimously decided to withdraw from the race to support him in this difficult time. The team had permission to wear the shirts, kindly supplied by Head Office, that they would have worn in the race.In a similar gesture one of the Station 32 Warrior Race team members also withdrew to attend the service. The rest of the team competed wearing black armbands.“This was a classic case of team members recognising that one of their members had a greater need than the team’s need to compete in the race, especially after the weeks of hard training. This solidarity and team spirit is what makes Sea Rescue what it is”, Station 20 Deputy Station Commander, Barry Mollett, said.
Jeremiah Jackson with the rest of the Warrior Race team (L-R) Ruahn Beattie, Morne Beattie, Helen Whitehead and John Rolt. He managed to conjure up a smile despite the sadness of the occasion.