Jackson-Garrison Heads Coat-Cap Drive

Jan. 18, 2007


Cassen Jackson-Garrison is leading the 'Cassen's Coats and Caps for the Counties" drive at two upcoming basketball games. Donate used coats and caps at collection sites around Memorial Gymnasium on these dates:
Jan. 25 - WBB vs UT (6 p.m. CT)
Jan. 27 - MBB vs. Ole Miss (12 p.m. CT)

To purchase tickets to these games, call 615.322.GOLD (option 1) or click here.
Buy Tickets - WBB vs. UT 1/25, MBB vs. Ole Miss 1/27

Vanderbilt football tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison is serving as the honorary chairman of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's effort to collect new and gently used winter coats and caps for needy children in surrounding counties.

The project, called "Cassen's Coats and Caps for the Counties", calls for fans attending the Vanderbilt - Tennessee women's basketball game January 25 and the men's basketball game January 27 between the Commodores and Ole Miss to donate used coats and caps at collection sites around Memorial Gymnasium.

Jackson-Garrison was identified as a logical spokesman for the project when organizers learned the story of his difficult life growing up in Knoxville, often going without food and wearing hand-me-downs himself.

"I am looking forward to helping as I can with this special project," Jackson-Garrison says.  "I understand what many of these young kids are going through on cold winter days.  I know what it is like not to have a warm coat to put on and when I think about that, I am very motivated to make this collection a success for those kids."

LaRawn Scaife Rhea, one of the project coordinators, indicated that Van Buren County, located just east of McMinnville on Middle Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, was one of the areas identified after a school nurse mentioned she was purchasing winter clothing for many children with her own money because they were arriving at school without adequate winter attire.

Jackson-Garrison just completed his third season on the Commodore football team and was the team's leading rusher in 2006.  His remarkable personal story includes long stretches without his parents during his years in grade school and junior high school. He was eventually taken in by Roger and Darla Garrison, who were teaching a church youth class he happened to attend.

"Here is an extraordinary young man who is using his own experience to make the path easier for others," noted Ellen Lehman, President of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. "This will warm the hearts of these children and their families in addition to their bodies.  We at The Community Foundation are honored to be able to connect Cassen Jackson-Garrison's generosity with need."

He went on to become an all-state football star at Knoxville's Central High School. He was the state's "Mr. Football" for the 4A class category in 2003.

Coats and caps will be collected at points on Memorial Gymnasium's south, north and east main entrances prior to the two games.



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