- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2003

AMERICAN CORNER, Md. (AP) An Eastern Shore man who has sent morale-boosting messages to American troops stationed around the world is having trouble bringing them someplace closer to home.
H. George Jackson Jr. wants to bring his huge scrolls to the State House in Annapolis for lawmakers, state officials and visitors to sign before he sends them overseas.
The State House Trust, the panel charged with maintaining the decorum and dignity of the Capitol, has denied Mr. Jackson permission to spread out his scrolls. If they were allowed in the State House, where would it stop, wonders Mimi Calver, an administrator for the trust.
"You don't need to have an imagination to picture what the State House lobby could look like without guidelines," says Miss Calver, whose main job is director of exhibits, outreach and artistic properties at the state archive. "This is about maintaining public areas for the public business."
Mr. Jackson isn't buying it.
"I just can't figure it," he says. "This is about supporting our troops."
The scrolls are nothing new for Mr. Jackson, 54, of American Corner. For eight years, he has been on a mission to send scrolls of greetings to American servicemen and women. This past Christmas, the Air Force hauled more than 6,000 feet of letters, notes, poems, signatures and drawings on 16 rolls of leftover paper donated by two Eastern Shore publishers.
Mr. Jackson gathers signatures mostly at shopping centers, county fairs, Little League games and anywhere else with a crowd near his home in Caroline County.
Mr. Jackson also has taken scrolls to Congress for signing. Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed a scroll once, as did U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., now the governor of Maryland. Parris N. Glendening as governor sent letters to Mr. Jackson for several years to attach to the scrolls.
Mr. Jackson has e-mailed every member of the legislature. He has talked to the governor's office. He has e-mailed city officials in Baltimore and Frederick for moral support.
"We all love George to death," says Shareese DeLeaver, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ehrlich. "We aren't sure this is an issue the governor can solve. And you can understand an argument about other groups, other people wanting the chance to do the same thing."
At the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Lt. Olivia Nelson can't understand all the fuss. The public affairs officer who helps Mr. Jackson get the scrolls on military transports says the greetings are appreciated, now more than ever.
"I hear from George all the time, whenever he gets a card or an e-mail from someone overseas," Lt. Nelson says. "I can tell you the scrolls boost morale.
"These kids don't care who signs them, whether they're Maryland legislators or what. They're just glad for the support from home."


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