When Manatee Youth Rowing Program director Trish Jackson walked into the county commissioners meeting on Tuesday, the last thing she expected was to become a part of history.
To recognize Jackson for the progress she's made with the county's rowing program, which began in 2010, county commissioners declared Oct. 9 'Trish Jackson Day' in Manatee County.
"I was under the impression I was going there for being recognized for volunteerism," Jackson said.
The program originated with Palmetto High School and has since expanded to Southeast and Manatee High. Jackson also runs a summer rowing program for Manatee youths.
"The county recognized the hard work and effort we put into rowing in this community," Jackson said. "I did not achieve that alone."
In April, the program made history at the Florida Scholastic Rowing Championships when four boats from Palmetto High qualified for the Scholastic Rowing National Championships in Camden, N.J., marking the program's first national regatta appearance.
In the 2012 fall season debut, Manatee, Southeast and Palmetto High teams combined for two gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze at the Sarasota 5000 Regatta in Osprey on Sept. 30. Nearly 100 high school and club teams entered the race.
"I thought the growth and success would come, but I didn't expect it to come as quickly as it did," Jackson said.
Jackson did not compete in college but has won medals at national competitions. Last year, former Sarasota resident and television star Jane Lynch and her wife, Lara Embry, donated $15,000 in money and equipment to the program. Embry and Jackson were rowing partners.
"To have a day a named after me is the highest honor that has been bestowed on me, besides motherhood," Jackson said.
Now that she has her own day, Jackson said she will celebrate it doing what she loves most.
"I might get in a boat and just row for myself," she said. "I can't think of a better celebration."
The program will compete in the Head of the Indian Creek regatta in Miami on Sunday, Oct. 14.
East Word features news and views about East Manatee from members of the Lakewood Ranch Herald and Bradenton Herald.
Jason Bartolone: Jason returned for his second tour of duty at the Herald in August 2013 as East Manatee Editor, following a three-year stint with local news startup Patch. He previously served as a copy editor/page designer and Page 1A editor with the paper from 2005-10. He has more than 10 years of journalism experience and holds a degree in journalism from Penn State University. A New Jersey native, Jason moved to Florida in 2005 and now resides in Lakewood Ranch with his wife and infant son. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jasonbartolone.