Jim Thorpe man gets rare invitation to Oval Office
Curtis Jackson, of Jim Thorpe, left, visited the Oval Office recently as part of the White House Historical Association’s “Presidential Sites Summit” in Washington, D.C. Also pictured are Sean Clarke, SCS sales assistant and Marty MacDonald, product manager. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
A Jim Thorpe businessman had the rare treat of visiting the Oval Office recently as part of the White House Historical Association’s “Presidential Sites Summit” in Washington, D.C.
Curtis Jackson, vice president of Software Consulting Services in Nazareth, was invited to the summit after his company played a pivotal role in helping the association rebuild its website and supplying the software that powers its digital library.
“WHHA has been a customer of ours for four years,” Jackson said.
They are a nonprofit founded in 1961 by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy with a mission to protect, preserve and share with the public artifacts and archives of America’s Executive Mansion.
The summit brought together more than 100 organizations representing presidential sites from those of George Washington to George W. Bush.
Jackson’s time in the nation’s capital also included a handshake with the president during a reception on Aug. 29.
“I was located in the front row, and after he was done speaking, President Trump came down and I put my hand out,” Jackson said. “He read my nametag and said, Mr. Jackson, what have you done for the historical association? I told him that our company worked on the website, and he thanked me, and moved down the line.”
Jackson was also thanked by first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence asked Jackson if he ever thought he would be in the White House about to stand in the Oval Office.
“Never in my lifetime,” Jackson answered.
“It was very impressive,” Jackson said. “We were able to go into the West Wing and in areas typically off limits to the public. The Oval Office was awe-inspiring. The entire White House represents everything free and good about our country. It’s a national treasure, and regardless of your political feelings, if you ever get the opportunity for a tour, you should do it.”
One of Jackson’s memories from the trip came from a nugget he learned while gazing at a portrait located in the White House of George Washington, one hand grasping a sword and the other one outstretched.
A young Marine informed him it is the same portrait Dolley Madison, first lady at the time, risked her life to save as the British set fire to the capital during the second year of the War of 1812.
Among other guests at the summit were over 40 descendants of past presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Grover Cleveland, John Tyler and more.
“It was such an honor to participate in this event, provide the White House Historical Association with the integrated software systems that drive its digital library, and support its mission of publicly sharing White House history with these freely open online archives.”
An Instagram photo, showing Jackson in the far right corner of the shot, can be found at https://bit.ly/2On1brh.