Enquirer Herald

TRAVELER

CLOVER -- After working for 32 years at the Bank of Clover, Sara Louise Jackson had no intention of sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of her life.

Instead, she took to the road. And during the past two decades, Jackson has taken dozens of friends along for the ride.

On Saturday, the town of Clover held a luncheon at the Larne Building in honor of Jackson and the impact she's had on the lives of residents.

Jackson loved to travel all her life, but it wasn't until 1990 she started sharing that love around her town.

As a member of the Clover Home Extension, she and Sue Kirsh were assigned to come up with an activity for the group to do in place of their July meeting.

"We decided to rent a coach and take a trip somewhere just for the day," Kirsh remembers. "We didn't tell anybody. It was a surprise. We just told them to meet at a certain time and wear walking shoes."

They ended up going to Black Mountain and Asheville, N.C., with stops along the way.

The next day, their phones started to ring.

"When's the next trip," the people asked.

And so S & S Travels was born.

Since 1990, Jackson and Kirsh have helped organize trips across the U.S. and Canada. They even took one trip to Larne, Northern Ireland, Clover's sister city. They chose the locations and then booked the buses and hotels.

"There were just so many people right here in this area, that were just not going to get into their cars and go traveling," Jackson said.

"So we decided we would just do it," she said.

Sometimes the travelers knew where they were going. Other times it was a mystery.

"I think we did it because a lot of these people would never have been out of Clover. They wouldn't know how to make reservations," Jackson quipped. "Some of them had never eaten in restaurants or knew what a salad bar was."

Kirsh retired from the program in 2002 so she could spend more time in Columbia with her husband, Rep. Herb Kirsh. That same year Jackson approached the town and asked for them to supplement the trips for the senior citizens of Clover.

Jackson retired from her job until 2005, but the town's recreation department has continued to organize about four trips a year since then.

"I think it's had a huge impact on the senior citizens," said Gina Bruce, special events planner for the town. "I think it validates them and it lets them know how important they are to the town."

Jackson said she was touched that the town would honor her. She was thinking about it a couple nights before the luncheon.

"I told myself, 'Now if you're going to cry, you do it now right here in this room,'" she said. "It has touched me. It really has."

Jackson is getting older now, but every once in a while her feet still begin to itch for traveling, she said.

"I believe I could still do this," she said. "I'm not as young as I was, but I can still go. I think as long as people keep trying and going, they're better off. You can go home and sit in a rocking chair if you want, but you're not going to be as active."

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