Jackie Lodge: the story behind the J.Lodge name
Looking down the long hallway, nurses recalled Jackie’s wide smile speeding closer and closer. Using his chin to move a joystick, he would race down the hallway in his motorized wheelchair, excitedly greeting each human obstacle as he weaved around them.
Jackie Lodge, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy soon after birth, lost both of his parents in a car crash at a young age. He found solace in the staff and clients at New Lisbon Developmental Center, where he lived from age 11 on. His condition worsened over time, leaving him with mobility of only his tongue and chin. In a life that might seem dull to most, Jackie managed to shine.
An Inspiring Intellect
The condition left Jackie’s body tiny and twisted, yet his intellectual capabilities were profound. Many of Jackie’s fellow patients had developmental disabilities, but Jackie saw past that. Another nurse, Nancy, said that Jackie “cared a lot more about others than himself.” He would always check in, asking about your family or recent vacation. He attended almost all the community events at New Lisbon, socializing with the staff and residents alike.
Nancy chuckled, noting that when Jackie received a computer system in his fifties, “everyone thought ‘What are they thinking?’” It was a new concept for the staff, but after seeing Jackie use the computer, they were amazed. Jackie was truly unstoppable—he wrote emails to staff, relatives, and friends, even advocating for himself and other patients to the hospital administration. By moving a cursor to each individual letter, Jackie spent hours crafting a single email. He talked about anything and everything, from his love of baseball to the upcoming events happening at New Lisbon. These emails were just small tokens of the kindness Jackie exuded daily, reminding staff and friends of his inspiring intellectual and emotional capabilities.
A Focus on Faith
Jackie’s joy and compassion were deeply rooted in his faith. He attended weekly services and would chat with the deacon every chance he could get. The nurses jokingly rolled their eyes, noting that Jackie would frequently ask to call the deacon, just to catch up.
Jackie’s outgoing personality, coupled with his strong religious values, led him to meet Mike and Kolleen Schrider. On their church’s very first visit to New Lisbon, the two immediately noticed how remarkable Jackie was. Through emails and in-person visits, the three fostered a strong relationship, built on common beliefs and mutual understanding.
A Lasting Impact
In 1999, Mike and Kolleen created J.Lodge, a quality assurance company named after their dear friend, Jackie. The two created an exceptional employee model that focuses on hiring Americans with disabilities. J.Lodge has always been committed to serving the often unnoticed, yet incredibly talented, segments of the population. Before his passing, the couple presented Jackie with his own J.Lodge business card. The look of pride on Jackie’s face was indescribable; not only did he inspire those who were lucky enough to meet him, but from that point forward, he would serve as an inspiration to countless more.
Jackie’s body was technically small, but it held enough joy for not only him, but anyone else who needed it. Reflecting on the impact Jackie had on her, Kathy noted that when she was around him, she noticed the good parts of life just a little bit more.
It’s rare to find someone who can remain full of innate joy in difficult situations, but Jackie Lodge was one of those people. Jackie’s free spirit was one of his greatest gifts to the world, teaching us all that a rich life is possible.