Linda Venable, Jackson native and 1982 Jackson High School graduate identified Jackson’s strong girls’ sports program starting in the 1970’s as one of the reasons she prospered having lived here. She credits both the community of Jackson and the Jackson R-2 School district for that asset.
“I had the opportunity to participate in the comm-unity’s elementary girls’ sports programs in the early 1970s in both softball and basketball,” Venable said. “By the time I was in high school, I was able to participate in the high school tennis, basketball and softball programs.”
Venable credits the Jackson R-2 softball program that started in 1979, led by Coach Ed Lewis, as well as the summer softball program volunteer coaches Bob Dumey and Ferrill Marler, for her ability to earn a softball scholarship to Southeast Missouri State University.
“My college tuition was paid for and coming from a family of five children, the tuition was very much needed and appreciated,” she said. “It enabled me to earn my B.S. Degree in Elementary Education. This led to earning a master’s degree and be blessed with a rewarding 30 year career as an elementary teacher.”
Venable moved to Jefferson City after graduating from SEMO University and taught in the Cole R-5 School District and later in the Steelville R-3 School District. She finished up her teaching career at Scott Central School District.
She moved back to Jackson to be there for her aging parents, Susan and Jerry Venable. Traditional Jackson Friday Night football games were on the agenda her first year back.
“It was one of these games where I ran into an old neighborhood family friend, Chip Van Amburg. After a brief period of courting, he proposed and I accepted. It was at this point I knew I would stay in Jackson and call it home forever,” Venable said.
There are so many thing special about Jackson for Venable and it all starts with the people.
“Jackson’s citizens are very giving human beings,” she said. “Whether their contribution is large or small, each individual gives what they can of their time, talents and monetary gifts. This is a community that pours itself into its children, youth, young adults and senior citizens. Whether it’s through the churches, schools, or organizations you can always count on community members to get things done. Jackson citizens continue to give back to the community to help it grow and thrive in the 21st century while still holding onto its small town values and traditions. Each one of us makes a difference in our own unique way and makes Jackson what it is.”
And as softball coach at Saxony Lutheran High School, it seems Venable has found a niche that relies on the skills she’s worked at in helping to develop athletes.
The importance of a strong community is evident in Venable’s commitments as DAR John Guild Chapter Regent, member of the Rotary Club of Southeast Missouri Service, PEO Chapter DJ STAR Scholarship Chair and Jackson Heritage Association member.
Choosing a favorite Jackson event for Venable was difficult because there are so many fabulous ones.
“The event in the most recent years that has become dear to my heart is our Jackson Wreaths across America event held in December, sponsored by the John Guild Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution,” Venable said.
She is the current regent of the local DAR chapter and is grateful for the generous support the program has received from residents, businesses and organizations in the Jackson community.
“The past year we were once again able to raise enough funds so that 1,400 veterans laid to rest in our city cemeteries had a wreath placed on their grave,” Venable said. “It is always an emotional experience for me as I watch members of the community, youth organizations and families with their children and grandchildren walking through the cemeteries placing wreaths, honoring and remembering the brave men and women from our community that served this great nation of ours.”
Individuals or families considering a move to Jackson should take Venable’s advice —“If you are looking for a new place to call home, Jackson is the place to be.” You might be reminded of the reasons when you pass the old fashioned billboards proclaiming Jackson is a “City of Beautiful Homes, Churches, Schools and Parks.”
“There is always something happening in our city parks from music events to sporting events to community celebrations, our city parks have it,” Venable said. Among some of her favorite events she noted Jackson Park Clean-Up Day and the Fourth of July Celebration.
“We are a community that supports our school system’s goal of ‘Igniting Inno-vation…Continuing Excellence,” she said. With that, Venable names the Jackson R-2 Red and Black Affair and the Foundation Alumni Golf Tournament also as favorites.
Venable is an active member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. She has been a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Adult Choir for 14 years and is also a member of the Concordia Guild Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.
“We encourage every family to find the church that meets their spiritual needs,” Venable said. Another of Venable’s favorite events is “Feed my Starving Children,” which has been sponsored by New McKendree United Methodist Church in Jackson.
“Jackson is a community that supports and encourages the development of small businesses,” Venable said. “Our Chamber of Commerce’s motto is ‘Small Chamber. Big Results!’ The Chamber offers incentives to learn, grow, network and experience personal growth, all in order to help you and your business succeed.” She added that the Jackson Chamber Banquet is among one of her favorites.
The remaining picks for Venable’s favorite Jackson events are Jackson in Bloom, Jackson Legion/VFW Memorial Day flag placement on Veteran’s graves, Homecomers, Oktoberfest, the Veterans Day Parade and the Christmas Parade.