(from left) MLA Jackie Tegart, Tom Jackson, and Chief Greg Blain. Photo by Barbara Roden.

Multi-talented performer Tom Jackson tours Ashcroft Reserve

The Red Cross ambassador wanted to get a feel for the land that has been scarred.

Actor, singer, producer, and activist Tom Jackson made a stop in the Ashcroft area on Wednesday, August 2, to see at first-hand the damage on the Ashcroft Reserve. Jackson—who long-time residents will remember from his appearances in Ashcroft on the CP Holiday Train more than 15 years ago—is a Canadian Red Cross ambassador, and was in the region with members of the Red Cross.

“He joined after the 2013 Alberta floods,” says Jennifer McManus, Red Cross vice president (Alberta and Northwest Territories). “He wants to meet people, be on the ground in communities with an emergency situation so he can hear and feel and listen to people’s stories, and then tell those stories.

“He wants to be able to convey to Canadians the importance of supporting communities in crisis.”

After touring the Reserve and seeing the devastation there, Jackson said “I need to feel the soil. I need to feel the spirit of the land that has been scarred. I need to feel it in my body, so I can deliver the message to others; make it real, so that they can be a part of the healing and rebuilding.

“I knelt by the cemetery on the Reserve. The soil speaks to you. I didn’t have a pre-conceived idea until I got here and spoke with the chief [Greg Blain]. He said to me ‘The mice never had a chance.’”

Jackson, who has won numerous awards for his humanitarian work, is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has released several country and folk albums, appeared in many TV shows (including North of 60), and is perhaps best-known for the long-running series of Huron Carole Christmas concerts.