KELLY MEYERHOFER (Wisconsin State Journal)
Emily Almanza had accepted a while back that she would miss her little brother's high school graduation ceremony this month.
Just two years into her U.S. Air Force career and stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, Almanza, 20, didn't think she'd get the time off, nor could she afford the plane ticket home to Moline, Illinois. But a surprise landed in her email inbox earlier this month.
Larry and Jen Jackson, a New Glarus family who started a small nonprofit raising money to buy plane tickets home for young military service members, had selected Almanza as one of about 46 recipients whose travel this month would be supported by the organization.
The latest round of "ticket home awards" represents a significant expansion for the family's homegrown organization, the Ben Jackson Foundation, established in 2018: The Jacksons removed the Wisconsin residency requirement this spring and are now sorting through more than 2,000 applications from U.S. troops stationed around the world who are seeking help to get home.
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