Essex resident praised for lifetime community service


ESSEX – Ron Jackson, a long-time volunteer in Essex, received the Francisca Irwin Award for community service at a ceremony on August 24. The award, named in honor of Francisca “Frisky” Paine Irwin, was presented to Jackson by the Essex Community Fund of the Adirondack Foundation.

Jackson has been recognized for more than seven decades of selfless service to his community. As part of the award, he received $ 1,000 from the Essex Community Fund to donate to a charity of his choice – the Essex Volunteer Fire Department.

“I grabbed community service from my family,” Jackson said, “and it stayed.”

Over 60 Jackson’s friends and neighbors joined him for the reception, hosted at CFES ‘Brilliant Pathways Center in Essex. He is the third recipient of the Irwin Community Service Award since its inception in 2019; Donna Sonnett and Sally Johnson are past recipients.

Jackson began volunteering when he joined the Essex Volunteer Fire Service in 1964 at the age of 16 – he has been with the service since, 58 years. He was also a municipal supervisor for 10 years and was instrumental in shaping the Willsboro / Essex Emergency Medical Services. Jackson also helped start the Essex Heating Assistance group and was a founding member of the Essex Community Fund.

“Ron’s enduring dedication to the Essex community is nothing short of amazing,” said James Graves, Essex Community Fund Board member and member of the Fire Department. “Continuously presenting yourself for your fellow citizens, sometimes literally in an emergency, over the course of a lifetime is a source of inspiration. We’re more than grateful for everything Ron has done for us, and we think Frisky would be proud of that as well.

Additionally, Jackson helped raise funds for the development of Beggs Park, which was dedicated to his late wife, Barbara.

The Essex Community Fund is a component fund of the Adirondack Foundation which provides grants to eligible non-profit organizations in the City of Essex and others who serve the residents of Essex. The fund awarded 165 grants totaling nearly $ 274,000 in support of community beautification, historic preservation, culture and the arts, education, recreation and programs for youth, individuals elderly and other social services. The Essex Community Fund also helps administer the Allen Scholarship and Education Program, a $ 5,000 scholarship awarded annually to a local student for four years of college study.

To learn more about the Essex Community Fund and the Adirondack Foundation, visit

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