A 67-year old Vietnam veteran was killed Nov. 10 when he was struck by a car in a hit-and-run.
Samuel Jackson was getting into his car, which was parked in front of the house he has shared with his companion of 20 years, when the vehicle police believe is a red Ford Focus sped by, news reports detailed.
Hours after Jackson’s body was taken away, a tow truck came to remove his car, a Marine Corps sticker adorning its bumper. Jackson’s slippers and glasses remained scattered on the street.
“You hit Sam,” Jackson’s companion, Debbie Campbell, told CBS Philly. “You had him laying in the street like he’s a dog. ... He fought for this country. ... Stop being a coward and come forward.”
On Nov. 10, as Marines everywhere celebrated the service’s 244th birthday — the first of which took place in historic Tun Tavern just about 20 miles from Jackson’s home — his family began preparations for an unexpected funeral.
The former corporal would have wanted to be buried in a Marine Corps uniform, his sister Peggy Jackson said, but they were unable to locate one among his possessions.
“I couldn’t imagine putting anything else on him," Jackson told CBS Philly.
When a local Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost caught wind of the family’s story, it put out a call for uniform donations on their Facebook page.
“The outpouring was insane,” Walt Hartnett, commander of VFW Post 1074, told CBS Philly. “I got calls from Mississippi, I got calls from North Carolina.”
One call came from Doug Franks, the senior vice commander at VFW in the neighboring town of Trappe, Pennsylvania.
“No one deserves to die like that, and he was very proud of his service for very good reason,” Franks told CBS Philly. “I’m more than willing to share."
Franks donated every item in the dress blue uniform set, and added a jar filled with black sand from Iwo Jima.
“Just to know that he is going to be in his military uniform is a blessing," Peggy Jackson said. “My brother’s other family, the Marine family. My God, he loved the Marines.”
A GoFundMe has been set up by the VFW for monetary donations to assist Jackson’s family.
“We want to give Sammy the honorable service he deserves,” his sister wrote on the donation page.
Jackson leaves behind five children and seven grandchildren.
“He served his country. He was a veteran,” Jackson’s 16-year-old grandson Jayden Guidici told CBS Philly. “For now on, the stuff I do is for him.”
The veteran’s funeral service has been scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Paoli United Methodist Church in Paoli, Pennsylvania.