Jerseys For Jackson gains nationwide momentum after parade attack
WAUKESHA, Wis. - The effort to honor Jackson Sparks, the youngest Waukesha Christmas parade attack victim, is gaining momentum across the nation.
A Greendale native is trying to rally support for the family by wearing #JerseysForJackson on Friday, Dec. 3. The Milwaukee Brewers are now on board.
It began with the former MVP, Christian Yelich, before more players and then the team joined in, too.
The guy who started it all says the exposure this simple gesture is getting is even greater than he could've imagined.
"It's been a great relief that, in the end, we know social media can be so positive and such a positive influence in the United States," said Todd Ahrens.
It was his Facebook post that called on everyone to wear #JerseysForJackson" Friday and post a picture under that hashtag in Sparks' honor. The 8-year-old boy who was killed in the Waukesha parade was walking with his baseball team.
Ahrens just wanted to show support and said the response has been so much more.
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"It takes your breath away," said Ahrens. "Those that know me know I'm never speechless, and it's caught me speechless."
A quick search of the #JerseysForJackson hashtag on social media shows baseball teams, school districts and businesses from across the country joining in, like the Milwaukee Milkmen, who were among the first to step up to the plate.
"When you see Jackson in his uniform and what happened, the tragic event, it hits you right in the heart and you want to do something," said Jim Rinnelli, Milwaukee Milkmen.
On Wednesday, it drew even more attention. Yelich tweeted his heart was with the Sparks family, saying, "Let's make this happen" to support them. His teammates, Kolten Wong, Brent Suter and the Brewers organization also tweeted their support, which caught the eye of Jackson's team, the Waukesha Blazers.
Team President Jeff Rogers sent a statement saying:
"The Blazers and I are blown away from the support we've seen. The Jerseys for Jackson campaign is heartwarming and proof our community is coming together."
Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order that says flags of the United States and Wisconsin shall be flown at half-staff, Dec. 2 in honor of Sparks and every day a Waukesha parade victim is laid to rest.