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Employee Spotlight

At Gate Precast Company, our people are our pride. The Gate Employee Spotlight program honors our employees and share what makes them extraordinary with our Gate family and others.

 

2016 Honoree

Since 2012, Gate has recognized 11 employees as Employee Spotlight honorees. Each were selected based acts of community service, compassion, heroism or overcoming obstacles. This meaningful recognition of employees has been well-received.

Dennis "Jacko" Jackson, Set-up Foreman at Gate Precast in Ashland City, TN, was the 2016 Employee Spotlight award recipient. Jacko was recognized for his dedication to Gate and his selfless actions and extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of a loving home. We are proud to have him as a part of the Gate family.

dennis "jacko" jackson

Set-up Foreman
Gate Precast Company
Ashland City, TN

Decision to adopt begins wonderful journey

Dennis "Jacko" Jackson, began his career with Gate Precast Company in the Ashland City, TN plant in June 1997. During his almost 20 years as a Gate Precast employee, he has served as steelyard foreman, hardware inserter, and now set-up foreman. Dennis has a smile for everyone he meets. With his low-key, charming, unassuming manner, he puts even a stranger at ease. He "adopts" new employees into his set-up crew Gate family, working side-by-side with them until they understand and know this tough job. Dennis steps up to meet both new and difficult challenges with a strong, steady sense of commitment and with a humble easy leadership style.

In 2009, Dennis and his wife, Betty, and their two children (James,12, and Kendal,13, at the time) began to research foster parenting. Both Dennis and Betty were adopted at a very young age; Dennis at age 3 and Betty at 6 months. This shared bond sparked a need to reach out to children, who like them, were in need of a loving family and home. After much family discussion, they contacted Lee Village, a nearby group home for severely abused children, which works in collaboration with the Department of Human Services. Dennis and Betty were told a child would be placed in their home for one week, and after that time, the family could decide whether or not the child would work well with their family. That single week, was the beginning of their wonderful journey.

All of the children Dennis and Betty accepted came from abusive homes, some more abusive than others. One exceptional moment for Dennis and Betty was when they were able to legally adopt Nickolas, a 9-year-old boy. Nickolas had to be taught just about everything ranging from using the bathroom correctly to general hygiene, learning to tie his shoes and how to ride a bicycle. One example of his birth parents’ abusive actions occurred at meal time. His parents placed his food in front of him to eat; however, they quickly took the food away before he could reach it. When the child arrived at their home, both hands and feet were broken, according to Dennis.

One night James and Kendal (now 19 and 20) came to Dennis and asked, "Dad, you know Nickolas doesn't have a real family and he is so young. Why don't you and Mom adopt him so we can make sure he is taken care of for the rest of his life?" Dennis admits he was caught off guard by his children’s request, but was very proud of their selflessness.

“They hung in there with us through the fostering of other children. They have both completed school and are doing well,” Dennis boasts about his two oldest children.

Both children have moved out and are living on their near their family home in Clarksville. Two of their other children have moved to Indiana. "My hopes are the others will see the real need for parents in the world and will come forward to help children,” says Dennis. “After all, who of us asks to be brought into this world? All of us desire to have others love us as their own.”

Dennis and Betty have housed 19 children over the last seven years, and most of these children have remained in their home until they were 18 and able to face the world on their own. While the idea of rearing 19 children might scare most, Dennis has enjoyed every moment of the journey, and does not believe they are finished with their work with children. Two of their foster children were recently returned their birth parents' home, making room in his heart and home to adopt at least two more children.

“My wife and I feel good about giving these kids a home. We wish we could keep them all. Sending them back to their parents is hard, especially when they are younger.”

In addition to fostering children in need, they reach out to those in their community who also need a loving space to call their own. Dennis and his wife own residential properties in the area, which enables them to provide homes for families experiencing homelessness, and gives them time to get back on their feet. 

With a constantly growing national need for assistance to those who seem to slip through the cracks of society, we are truly fortunate to have citizens like Dennis “Jacko” Jackson answering the call for help, said Jim Pearson, Plant Manager of Gate Precast's Ashland City, TN plant.

According to Jim, Dennis arrives to work at least an hour early every day and brings a smile on his face, a positive attitude and a willingness to help anyone out. “His commitment to his job is equal to that of helping kids in need. Dennis is more than just an employee. He’s a friend and someone Gate Precast can count on. He goes above and beyond the norm of what most people are willing to do,” said Jim.

When Dennis gives you his famous smile, somehow you know he's going to make things better for all. He and his wife have and will continue to do just that.