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Steve Jackson Selected as Finalist for United Way Volunteer Award

March 16, 2017

Steven B. Jackson, Sr. is being recognized by the United Way of East Central Iowa as a finalist for the 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Award in the senior division.

Steve Jackson has been volunteering regularly with Iowa Legal Aid for the last 30 years to help people facing family-related legal issues who cannot afford an attorney. His commitment to helping those in need is being recognized by the United Way of East Central Iowa, as Steve has been nominated and selected as a finalist for the 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Award in the senior division. The winner of each category will be decided by online voting. Anyone can vote once a day between March 13 and April 7. The winners are being announced at a recognition breakfast on April 20, 2017.Steve, a practitioner of family law, started giving his time to the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) in 1987. Since then, he has provided free legal advice and counsel to thousands of individuals facing family-related legal issues and offered pro bono representation to many of those in need.Steve’s involvement has reshaped the VLP. In 1999, he recruited his son, Steve Jackson, Jr., to begin an ongoing commitment as a volunteer through Iowa Legal Aid. Steve set aside half a day each month to meet with clients in need at no charge. He later initiated the Family Law Intake Program (FLIP) and elicited the support of other local family law attorneys to volunteer their time and help more people.When asked about the time he’s spent as a volunteer, Steve told a story that represents his ongoing motivation and makes it all worthwhile. One afternoon a young mother came in to the Iowa Legal Aid office looking for help. She needed out of an abusive relationship with her husband, who was incarcerated at the time. The woman told Steve about her young daughter. Together, the mother and daughter had moved three times, and consequentially the daughter had been enrolled in three different elementary schools, all in a span of only two months due to the troubles the mother was facing. After discussing some of her options and offering legal advice, Steve said to the woman, “You’re going to pay me.” The woman looked up, taken aback. After a pause, Steve explained, “You’re going to pay me by signing a lease and keeping your daughter enrolled in the same school.” Steve proceeded to help the woman through a divorce. Two years later, Steve was attending his grandson’s school recital when he heard a familiar voice ask, “Do you remember me?” It was the same woman he helped through the divorce. Steve did remember her and asked how she had been doing. The woman pointed to her daughter, dancing on stage next to his grandson, and said, “That is my daughter, and she is here because of you.” The woman had signed a lease and kept her daughter in the same school since meeting with Steve. Her daughter and Steve’s grandson were in the same class. She paid him back, big time.

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