“I hate chicken” hats honor Jackson Standefer

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Jackson’s family and friends found a unique way to honor him. It is also helping them grieve during this difficult time.

Mark McOmie looks through boxes of hats. There are 400 hats here. They read “I Hate Chicken.”

“Sometimes in your life through a symbol or a couple of words, you can speak more than just a couple of words you can get a point across,” McOmie said.

The hats honor McOmie’s nephew, 14-year-old Jackson Standefer.

“It is a tribute to Jackson. Because what it is, is it is meant to be a code amongst his friends to know what is going on,” McOmie said.

Two weeks ago, Jackson was hiking with his family in the Grand Canyon, when he and his step-grandmother were crossing a creek and got swept away. Grand Canyon National Park officials confirm his body was found on Friday.

“There are times in our lives when we don’t know what to say and we know that we hurt inside and we are grieving,” said McOmie.

Jackson’s uncle shared how the saying on the hats came to be. But first he wanted to say, Jackson was a good kid, who was calm, and polite.

“Except when he got hangry. And one time we were out and he got a little hangry and we were trying to figure out what to eat. We were like ‘let’s stop at Subway.’ ‘I hate Subway.’ ‘Let’s stop at Taco Bell.’ ‘I hate Taco Bell.’ So we were like ‘let’s go get some chicken fingers, everybody likes chicken.’ ‘I hate chicken.’ We were like, ‘Jackson you do not hate chicken you ate chicken yesterday.'”

McOmie says, when people see each other wearing the hats, they’ll know what to do.

“You know that they were friends with Jackson, and they miss him too.”

He’ll remember Jackson’s smile.

“He was a happy guy. He always wanted to be doing fun things, always wanted to be with his friends, with his family, always wanted to be apart of something nice.”

If you would like to donate to the Jackson Standefer ’21 fund, it has been established at the McCallie School. All gifts to the fund should be sent to:

The McCallie School
Advancement Office
500 Dodds Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37404

Checks should be made out to McCallie School with the Jackson Standefer Fund on the memo line.

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News

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