Dr. Thad Jackson has been a neurosurgeon with Hardin Memorial Health for 10 years.
Even though growing up he wanted to be an astronaut, Jackson said he’s loved every minute of the medical profession.
He came to Hardin County after a residency at University of Kentucky.
Locally, he mostly performs spine surgery.
“I’m Hardin County’s best neurosurgeon because I’m Hardin County’s only neurosurgeon,” he joked.
But outside of his family and work, one of his biggest interests is missions. He’s been to Central America five times, once to Nicaragua and four times to Honduras. He plans on going back this summer.
Last year, the medical mission team performed 72 surgeries in four days with a variety of specialists present.
“I’m usually a glorified gopher,” he said adding he’s usually assisting on surgeries as many of the doctors joyfully pitch in to do things outside their usual role.
He goes on these trips through an organization called Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International.
While there they not only heal bodies but try to heal souls as well because he said a primary purpose of the trips is to spread the gospel.
There’s a need in Central America for medical mission trips, he said. On one trip he met someone who had needed a gallbladder taken out for 20 years where in the United States it would be removed immediately.
Jackson said it’s a rewarding experience where everyone pitches in to help.
Taking a child on the trips is a good experience as well, he said.
“Here we are mad if the Wi-Fi goes out and there they are wondering where their next meal is coming from,” he said.
But he also has a mission field in Hardin County. Every Friday, he coordinates a men’s prayer breakfast at Shoney’s.
Jackson said he feels his life has been blessed with his wife, April, plus good co-workers and great friendships developed in their 10 years in Hardin County.
One of those friends, Brian Kerr, described Jackson as a “true friend.”
“You will find him spending time with his family, friends, outside fishing, camping, kayaking, playing with his dogs Finn and Ranger or playing board games,” Kerr said. “Thad is also a very good baker and could be on the show ‘Cake Masters.’”
On special occasions, Jackson is often the one people ask to bring dessert, Kerr said.
But he’s also a bit of a practical joker, he said.
Jackson is known to place a rubber snake throughout Kerr’s house to scare whoever might discover it.
“One night we were gone and he put a mannequin with an Annabelle costume in our bathroom,” Kerr said. “Our dog saw it first and started barking so my wife went to investigate and came out screaming.”
Kerr said Jackson has laughed and shown the video to people thousands of times.
“I am confident you can ask people who interact with Thad at work, church, or in social settings will all agree that he is a class act,” Kerr said. “He is a man that serves God, his family, friends and community without ever expecting anything in return.”
Kerr said Jackson gives his time, talents and resources to the community.
“We are truly blessed to have Thad and his family in our community,’ he said.
But Jackson considers his life kind of boring, even though he does have a desire to be on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.”
He was called back last year after sending in an audition video. He said he was told by the casting staff they were “intrigued” by his video but wanted to see more of his athletic ability.
“I thought the neurosurgery gig might get me on there but apparently that’s not good enough,” Jackson said. “I have to be in good shape too.”
He said he will submit an application video one more time.
“As I get older I’ve learned experiences are what life is all about and it will be a fun experience,” he said.
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to know Thad Jackson
Favorite movie: “Shawshank Redemption”
Family: He and his wife April have two children, Ethan and Emily.
Pets: Two golden retrievers: Finn and Ranger
Favorite book: He reads the Bible on the YouVersion App.
Favorite sports team: University of Kentucky
Favorite TV show:“American Ninja Warrior”
Age: Too old to be on“American Ninja Warrior”
Phobia: Scary dolls
Church: Valley Creek Baptist Church
Missions: For information about medical mission trips, go to www.bmdmi.org.