Dan Jackson has never failed to find ways to get involved in his community.
When he lived down on the coast it was coaching sports teams, refereeing games and helping found Langley’s Citizens on Patrol. Since settling in the 108 Mile Ranch, true to form, Jackson became involved with the 108 Mile Ranch Community Association, the 100 Mile House and District Historical Society, the 100 Mile House Cruzers Car Club and the 100 Mile House Citizens on Patrol.
“It feels good to do it. I’ve been very fortunate and I like giving back,” Jackson said. “If I can do stuff for people, whether it’s my neighbours or whoever, I’m there. Don’t give me any more stuff to do though, I’ve got enough on my plate.”
From a young age growing up in Burnaby, Jackson said his volunteer spirit was fostered by his parents and grandparents who were all involved in their own communities. His grandmother sold poppies for the Royal Canadian Legion for 60-odd years and that example inspired him later in life.
His father taught him the value of staying positive and happy, answering the phone every day as the butler of the Jackson family. Jackson still answers his own phone the same way, noting it is charming for friends and disarming for scam callers.
Jackson retired to the 108 in 2006 after spending 38 years working for Finning as a salesman. He said he was attracted to the South Cariboo thanks to positive childhood memories camping at Green Lake, Canim Lake and Lac La Hache.
It wasn’t long after arriving that Jackson started getting involved with community groups. Len Doucette especially gave him a push and before Jackson knew it he was the trail boss for the Cariboo Challenge Jack Gawthorn Memorial Sled Dog Race.
The race, which took place around the 108 Golf Resort and lake, proved to be a fun if labour-intensive event. Jackson and other volunteers were responsible for using a trail groomer to create the course and to find any lost dog teams.
“One time Pat Corbett was driving it and there was this snowstorm. I said ‘Pat do you know where we are?’ and he said ‘No, do you know where we are?” Jackson said. “So we followed this treeline but man, you couldn’t see nothing. All of a sudden the snow stops, the sun comes out and he looks and goes ‘hey, we did pretty good!”
After leaving the sled dog race in 2014, Jackson said he started helping out around the 108 Mile Heritage Site. At the time he said the volunteers running the place were getting older and he wanted to take a load off their shoulders. He is currently the historical association’s vice president.
“Same old problem today as it was before, we can never get enough volunteers to help. It’s just the way it is but that’s why I guess I do it,” Jackson said. “You may as well enjoy life and not be a grump.”
For Jackson, the most rewarding part of getting involved has been his interactions with the community. Human interaction he said is what life is all about and the people in the South Cariboo are particularly warm and friendly.
Last month Jackson was named the 108 Mile citizen of the year at the community association’s annual general meeting. Receiving the reward was “spectacular” and emotional moment. On his life’s journey, Jackson said there has been a lot of rewards and being named citizen of the year just makes him want to keep volunteering.
He has no intention to leave the 108 Mile Ranch anytime soon. Even though his home has become a bit lonely since he lost his wife Colleen in 2020, who he was married to for 50 years, Jackson said he still loves the view of the lake whenever he wakes up.
“I enjoy waking up in the morning. My saying is I’m on the right side of the dirt, that’s all that counts,” Jackson said. “It’s a wonderful life and I just enjoy it.”