JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville is honoring JT Townsend in a big way this week and it's all to keep his legacy alive.
The celebration of his life will be a part of the season opener for the Jaguars this weekend. Three months ago, JT passed away at age 26.
On Wednesday, Episcopal High School honored Townsend during chapel in an effort to inspire this year's student body.
"You may have seen his picture or his jersey hanging in the Buck Center, but you never really met him," said Ryan Riggs, Director of College Counseling at Episcopal High School.
The special service at Episcopal High told the 2005 graduate's life story. Despite becoming paralyzed after an injury during a high school football game in 2004, Townsend made helping others his mission in life.
"JT knew that he had to start giving back more to support the community that supported him when he needed it the most," said Riggs.
Townsend started the JT Townsend Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities. This year, he graduated from the University of North Florida which was one of the happiest days for Carmen Townsend, JT's mom.
"We miss his love, we miss, we miss JT and our hearts are hurting, but we are just praying that God just helps us through this," said Carmen Townsend, JT's mother.
Now, the team he loved will honor his life at the first game of the season.
"I can just see him smiling and saying 'all this, look at this momma, look at this,'" said Carmen Townsend.
Jaguars game tickets purchased through the Give and Go program will give a portion of the proceeds to the foundation to continue the work JT started. The foundation is also selling the special edition game day shirts on its website for $15.
First Coast News