Church community supports terminally ill Roxboro man spending final months social distancing at home

Bridget Condon Image
Sunday, April 5, 2020
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Over 200 cars drove by to support a terminally ill Ohio man who can't spend his final months with friends and family the way he imagined due to social distancing guidelines

Joe Jackson, who lived in Roxboro, North Carolina for part of his life has let his light shine all over the country.

"I love North Carolina," he said. "I got to learn many, many people from North Carolina that turned out to be really, really good friends of ours."

Tim Potter is a pastor at Joe's church in Ohio and said they call it the Joe Jackson effect.

"He's really the only person I've known who has a profound influence on little babies all the way up to people in their 80s and 90s and everyone in between," Potter said. "Somehow he's been able to touch every one of their lives."

At the beginning of the year, Joe was diagnosed with a terminal illness and his doctor told him he had about 2 to 3 months to live.

"My words were to him 'I love my family, I love my church, I love my community,'" Jackson said. "I want to spend the time I have left with them."

Due to the coronavirus and social distancing, Joe isn't able to spend time with friends and family like he imagined.

"It dawned on me a week after the shutdown, 'oh my goodness we're never going to see him again,'" said Potter.

Pastor Tim had an idea, over 200 cars drove by Joe's house sharing messages of positivity and showing Joe once more how much he meant to the community.

"We actually were seeing on satellite on google maps as having caused a traffic jam by his house," said Potter. "He just influenced that many people. The cars were full of whole families. The kids were just as excited to see him as the adults were. God's compassion comes through him to everybody."

"That was a day of promise," Jackson said. "It's unbearable to even try and explain to you how much that meant to me and my wife and all the people of my church who love Jesus Christ."

The parade lasted around an hour and a half and Joe sat in 40 degree weather.and a light drizzle until the last car came through.

"It moved him like nothing I've seen move Joe before," said Potter. "Joe didn't tire all night long. He had the same energy and same compassion for every car. It changed me as a pastor for the rest of my life."

"You know I don't want to leave," Jackson said. "I love my friends, my family and my community. We all have a time and this time is mine."