The veteran spotlight this week focuses on Troy Atticus Jackson, as he shares his experience serving with the military, as well as his current role as head coach of the Leesville Track Team.

Before his start in the military, Jackson grew up in New Orleans, where he attended Francis T. Nicholls high school before graduating and attending Southern University of New Orleans. Jackson attended the university for two years on a Track scholarship before deciding to enlist in the military in May of 1982.

Jackson’s experience with Track and the ROTC program in Southern University prepared him for Basic Training, and soon he entered Active Duty. He was transferred to Fort Gordon, Georgia, joining the 36 Charlie.

Jackson’s military life had him transferred to several military bases and all over the world. Jackson found himself stationed in several places like Grenada, Honduras and El Salvador. He retired from the military in 2011, as a Sergeant First Class.

Although he has retired, Jackson still continues to give back to the community.

Currently, Jackson works with Gregory Wright as one of the head coaches and President of the Leesville Track Club. The club is part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) organization, and takes in kids from six to 18 years old and helps to train them to compete in the Junior Olympics.

“It’s a real blessing to help these kids, to watch their growth as they hone their skills,” Jackson said. “That’s my real joy, just seeing those kids achieve and giving them the chance to show their drive to compete, I couldn’t ask for anything more than to help them find themselves on that track field.”

The Junior Olympics will be taking place in Des Moines, Iowa this year. Nine members of the club were qualified to compete, and four will be competing during the Junior Olympics: Keeton Johnson, Keon Johnson, Trayvon Jackson and Taj Jackson.

Jatari Harris, Sean Ledesma, Gavin Wright, Gabriele Wright and Caroline Moss also qualified to compete at the regional competition in Hammond, Louisiana.

The Leesville Track Club currently consists of the following members: Joshua Brigham, Deandre Grooms, Jatari Harris, Taj Jackson, Troyvon Jackson, Keeton Johnson, Keon Johnson, Lamahne Lake, Lamarcia Lake, Lamayah Lake, Autumn Thomas, Christopher Tyler II, Madison Williams, Gabrielle Wright, Gavin Wright, Gregory Wright Jr., Sean Ledesma and Caroline Moss.

In addition to the four attending the Junior Olympics, the Leesville Track Club has put themselves on the National rankings, with Gabrielle and Caroline ranking first and second respectively for the 8 year old division in the state of Louisiana for the 200m and the 1500m.

Trayvon Jackson is also currently ranked third in the nation for the 3000m race walk in the 15-16 year old division of the AAU.

“I also just want to thank everyone that has helped support the team so far,” Jackson added. “Everything we do for these kids is special, and I’m thankful for anyone that wants to help take part in giving them the chance to succeed.”

Some of the organizations around town that have helped support the club include Barksdale Federal Credit Union, The Physical Therapy Services of West LA, The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department, Wal-Mart Supercenter and the Church of Transformation.

The Junior Olympics will begin on Sunday, July 29, and will extend into August 4.