Felix Jackson, the director of the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, has died.
According to a post on the agency’s Facebook page, Jackson suffered a medical emergency and died about 10 p.m. Monday.
“Felix felt personally responsible for the safety of the 53,000 residents of Jackson County, and worked tirelessly to do what was best for them. Please keep his family in your prayers in the coming days,” the post said.
"If you would've told me a meteor was going to fall out of the sky and kill all of us, I wouldn't have been more surprised as when I got that phone call last night at 9:30 that he was on the way to the hospital," said Paul Smith, the deputy director of emergency management.
News of 47-year-old Felix Jackson's death caught what seems like the whole community of Jackson County by total surprise. He died from a medical emergency around 10 Monday night, shortly after being rushed to the hospital.
Friends say the waiting room was packed with loved ones and fellow first responders.
"We travel all over the state and we never went anywhere that Felix didn't see someone that he knew," said Smith.
Friends describe Jackson as a light. They say he knew how to talk to anyone, and he just understood people and could make everyone feel welcome.
"He was a big guy with a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He truly had a servant's heart," said Lt. Craig Holcomb with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Jackson was a football star in high school and then headed to the University of Alabama. When he returned, he returned a hometown hero. He saw it as his job to protect the people of Jackson County.
"He was constantly putting other people's needs and other people's concerns before his, constantly looking out for the community," said Holcomb.
He did it while making everyone around him smile.
"We laughed everyday in this office. We got a lot of work done, but we laughed every day," said Smith.