Skip to main content

My friend, my hero!

Posted Date: 07/06/2024

My friend, my hero!

It all started back in the '70s when I lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and worked for Central States Distributors. Dave Smith led the sales department, and I would call on companies trying to drum up new business. Thanks to Dave’s incredible presentation skills, we were quite successful in Nebraska and Iowa. 

However, once we crossed into Kansas and Missouri, we encountered Harrison's own Jerry Orr and JD Erwin. We never managed to break through into their territory. 

Soon after, Mass Merchandiser bought our company. Dave, I, and several others moved to Harrison. That's when I got to know JD. He was the sales manager then, but regardless of who was president, it was well-known that JD Erwin was in charge. 

Mass Merchandisers Inc. (MMI) was a service merchandiser of non-food products and the largest in the world by far. I had the privilege of traveling with JD on sales calls, but it was after he retired at 55 that our friendship truly grew. 

JD was a father figure, my best friend, and my hero. We attended the same church. We traveled with our wives on many cruises and road trips. We had so much fun and always returned with great JD stories — so many that I could write a book. 

But JD and Judy were most admired for their generous hearts. They loved God, family, and Harrison, Arkansas. 

JD grew up as the youngest of 12 children without a father. Most Arkansas families were poor in the '40s and '50s, but his family was among the poorest. They married at 17 and 15 and just celebrated their 70th anniversary. They worked hard to care for both of their families and many others. 

He was involved in creating several charities, such as Share n Care, Claude Parrish Radiation Therapy (part of NARMC), North Arkansas College, the Hospice House, The Hillcrest Home, Equity Bank Sports Complex, and many more. 

When Community First Bank was started, they recruited city leaders to invest and wisely involved JD. He ensured that everyone he knew became a customer. He not only insisted that Peggy and I bank there but also that everyone I sold a house to bank there. I say that kiddingly, but if you knew JD, you knew it was also the truth. I constantly laugh when I catch myself saying something that came from JD. I'm sure we will meet again and hear him say, "Hey, get your butt in here." 

RIP, my friend, my hero.

Jerry Jackson


Jerry Jackson moved to the community in 1980 and was voted Mayor in 2018. He ran and won re-election in 2022. Email to contact the mayor’s office.