2019 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE 21
have more of it. He passed away five years ago
following complications from a stroke. He was
only 47 years old.
Today’s Salute to Service Game is huge for
me, even though I won’t be on the field with
my brothers. Military members sacrifice so
much for us. Salute to Service means a lot to
the players because we have family members
who are in the armed forces and we see those
sacrifices firsthand. I’ve been able to travel to
other countries and I realize how free we are
as Americans. Why wouldn’t you want to help
the people who allow you to wake up and not
worry about anything? It’s important for us
to recognize them and hopefully we’re giving
back and helping them do more.
When I played in Denver, the Broncos hosted
a camp in Colorado Springs for military
children whose parents were deployed. Just
to see the smile on those kids’ faces was
inspiring. One mom told me that she hadn’t
seen her child smile as much as he did in
a long, long time. That’s when I knew that
I was going to start my own foundation,
I started Malik’s Gifts in 2016 after I
signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The
three areas that I try to impact with the
foundation are the military, at-risk youth,
and animals. Those were all important to
me when my dad was in the military. It’s
critical for us to help military families as
much as we can. If something is broke or
some expense needs to be covered while a
family member is deployed, we step in to
help with that. We’ve hosted coat drives,
pet adoption drives, taken kids to movies,
provided scholarships – different ways to
showcase my gratitude. It’s important to
give back to the youth. I’ve been told that in
order to make the world better, you have to
help people. I’ve set my daughter up for life.
It was time to start giving back and become
a pillar of the community. True happiness
is found in helping others, which I hope to
pass on to my daughter.
The Salute to Service Game provides another
opportunity for me to shine a light on my
father’s legacy and thank all of the men,
women, and families who serve our country.
More importantly, it should act as a reminder
that every day is an opportunity to do
something for them.
Malik Jackson is the Eagles’ nominee for the
NFL’s Salute to Service Award.