Tacky Jacks donations fund sixth chair for veteran

By John Mullen

December 12, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – When it’s an important day you can’t leave out momma.

“We gotta have momma,” Pat Peterson told a crowd gathered at Tacky Jacks Grill and Tavern in Orange Beach. He was on hand Dec. 8 to be the sixth recipient of an all-terrain chair courtesy of Tacky Jacks, its customers, the Treasures of the Isle Mardi Gras krewe and the Lower Alabama Parrot Heads.

The restaurant collects donations at its iconic marlin stands at all three locations in Gulf Shores and on the Fort Morgan Peninsula.

“Each of our restaurants has a photo opportunity, the marlin,” Tacky Jacks CFO Ken Kichler said. “We put a donation box with a poster which explains what we do with the money. We take the money donated by our customers and Tacky Jacks matches this money to buy chairs. In addition, to the customers’ donations, we have now had several civic groups/clubs donate money to the cause and we matched those donations as well.”

Peterson is a Fairhope native who went into the Army right out of high school in 1989 and served at posts including bases in Korea, Georgia, South Carolina, California and Washington state. Shortly after leaving the Army after serving seven years he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident.

When he came out of a coma after 58 days, he awoke to find he’d lost the use of his legs.

While waiting for mom, Tanzie, to make it to the ceremony a glowing Peterson enjoyed visiting with those gathered to enjoy the day. Among those were Scooter Frederickson of the Marine League, Ryan Charrier of Operation Reconnect, another group that serves active-duty servicemen and their families, and Chance Blaker and Marie Palmer of Beach ‘n’ Buggys.

Peterson’s personality came bubbling to the top as he talked about all the fun he and grandson would have with the new chair.

“Oh, come on man,” Peterson said after his first look at the chair. “You’ve got to be kidding me. That is awesome. That’s what’s up. I need to thank y’all very much. Christmas came early. I’m ready. This is too cool.”

The first adventure would be to get back to the outdoors he loves.

“I’m a fisherman and I live about a mile from the bay down there,” Peterson said. “I think I’m going to get up one morning – tomorrow morning – and get out there and catch me one. One cooler. I’m so looking forward to it.”

Peterson said grandson Kolton and daughter Danielle Peterson keep him going through the hard times and will keep him going through the fun of having the new mobility with the all-terrain chair.

“I’m very blessed to have this little man here and my daughter,” Peterson said. “They give me life, they help me out with my situation. Lots of times I come home crying to her and she’s like ‘dad, I don’t want to hear that. You’ve got to keep on moving.’ I told him Christmas came early for us. We’re getting a new toy to play with all month long.”

Peterson’s new ride was going home courtesy of Blaker and Palmer of Beach ‘N’ Buggys. The couple also has a beach chair donated by Tacky Jacks that is free to veterans who ask for. They also rent the chairs and custom-build them for resale as well.

Charrier of Reconnect found out about Peterson’s need when Tacky Jacks had raised enough money to get the new chair.

Now the effort restarts from new donations and another smiling recipient when the goal is reached.

“This is something that is going be able to give me the mobility to get back out and go hunting again and back on the beach,” Peterson said. “Thank y’all very much.”