DECHERD, TN (WSMV) - A store opened in August with the goal of carrying on a veteran’s legacy by helping other veterans. A few short months later, that store is taking on some big hurdles.

"Kindergarten graduation, they ask, 'what do you want to do with your life?'" said Tonya Shockley, remembering when her son was a young boy. "He says, 'I want to be an Army soldier.'"

Shockley said her son always knew he'd one day wear those Army fatigues.

"I was like, 'OK, son, you're 5,'" she laughed. "'We have time to talk about this.' His answer never changed. Proud momma."

Last March, Shockley's son, Specialist Jackson Johnson, was killed while deployed in Kuwait.

In Decherd, his name is now seen by everyone passing West Main Street. There you will find Jackson's Thrift Store. It's a non-profit with money going to help the men and women in uniform with things like bills, food and gas money.

The place is also where vets can have a cup of coffee together, like Marine Brandon Lewter.

"Things do get serious," he said. "I have PTSD and a TBI injury. I was wounded. I was shot. I need this place. It's very much therapy for all of us veterans."

There's a problem at Jackson's, one that gets worse every time it rains.

"It's got a real bad water leak, and it's running down to the floor," said Mark Bassett, chairman for the non-profit, pointing to the stained ceiling tiles around the building. "It's causing a lot of mold."

Bassett said the building is full of fire hazards.

"We've got water in the light fixture itself," he said, pointing to fluorescent lighting in the building.

Ceiling tiles have caved or are sinking in at several spots.

"A non-profit organization will not be able to meet these expenditures," said Bassett.

A GoFundMe page has been set up with the hope of moving Jackson's somewhere else in Decherd. Shockley just hopes that works and her son's name carries on.

"He would be behind it 110% because it's making a difference," she said. "It meant a lot that someone thought so much of my son and understood his values."

The GoFundMe page for Jackson's can be found here.

 
 

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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