14 Jul Athlete Spotlight: Brian Jackson, Great Falls
Athlete Brian Jackson of the Great Falls Purple Hornets is the top seller of the 2022 MTN Chevy Raffle.
To sell something well, one must believe in it. Live it. Breathe it. There’s no doubt Special Olympics athlete Brian Jackson of Great Falls does all of that.
Through the years, Brian has sold tens of thousands of raffle tickets for Special Olympics Montana. That might sound like an impossibility until you learn that Brian has been involved with Special Olympics for 40 years and has been selling MTN Chevy Raffle tickets since its inception 28 years ago. This year, Brian sold the most raffle tickets by an athlete in the entire state—5,984. For several years there’s been a friendly competition between fellow athletes, Jon Hargett, Jamie Darko and Brian so when Brian learned he’d sold the most, he was ecstatic. For the last 25 years, Brian and his father Bill have hit the road to sell tickets extending beyond Great Falls to Helena, Billings, and even Missoula.
When the pair is out selling, it not only brings them joy, but to their customers as well. “Every place we go, people end up laughing,” according to Bill. “It’s something we love doing together.”
Brian impresses many people with a complete and thorough rundown of the raffle, including cost of tickets and a list of available prizes—all from memory. Selling raffle tickets has gotten Brian out of his shell according to Bill. “He has learned to communicate better with people and really excelled in that area. He was an introvert, but now loves going out and meeting people,” said Bill. That growth has given him the confidence to speak in front of community groups and serve as a Special Olympics Ambassador beginning in 2010.
When Brian was a child, Bill admits that sometimes his son’s challenges seemed insurmountable. But through Brian’s participation in Special Olympics, Bill has witnessed the growth and development of his son.
“Because of Special Olympics, Brian has overcome so many of those challenges. He is a blessing. Special Olympics has helped Brian, but it has really helped me.”
While Bill and Brian continue their journey with Special Olympics, they do so without their biggest supporter. In late January of this year, Bill’s wife and Brian’s mother, Twyla, passed away. Brian says her absence makes him sad but is comforted by knowing this: “She would say ‘Good job. I’m proud of you.’”