Jarrod Wise | KXAN NBC
BUDA, Texas (KXAN) - In a packed City Council meeting Tuesday night, the city of Buda memorialized the life of 15-year old Jackson Norris by naming a future skate park in his honor.
The youngster died a day after he was hit by a commercial truck while trying to cross busy U.S. Highway 183 in Lockhart. He had just wrapped up an afternoon of skateboarding on June 21 with his friends.
At the council meeting, one by one friend and family of the youngster approached the lecturn to comment on the popular teens life.
“I wish this park would have some other name, so I could see Jackson's smiling face skating here with my sons,” said a family friend.
“And just as Jackson's humor and personality were larger than life, his selfless decision about organ donation, was larger than our communities spirit, which is so great,” said family friend Tammy Schroeder.
Before his death, Jackson's parents consented to having his organs donated.
"We took him off life support around 9:30 when we did the donor paperwork," said Jackson's mother, Rebecca Norris. "When we woke up Thursday morning, we had a message from the donor association, that he had saved seven lives the previous night."
Medical staff told the Norris family that Jackson's bone, tissue and blood could potentially help give 150 other people hope.
"We do hope that the recipients will send a letter and know how their lives were affected. We would love to meet them some day," Rebecca Norris said, as tears rolled down her cheeks. "Whoever has his heart, we would love to meet because he was so loving, and kind and generous, and happy and funny. And whoever has his heart, they're very blessed, very blessed."
At the council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Tenorio read the proclamation aloud to the audience before she herself burst into tears.
“The city of Buda proudly wishes to name the Buda skate park, the Jackson Tyler Norris memorial skate park, in order to pay respect and to honor the life of Jackson Tyler Norris,” she proclaimed.
Tenorio has a special connection with the family. She received an organ 13 years ago that saved her life, from a 19-year-old girl.
“And you think a lot about the donor when you're a recipient. You're thrilled to have a new lease on life and you're so sad knowing that someone just lost a loved one. And it's a very difficult time. You're happy and then you're sad,” she said.
Last Friday, Rebecca Norris received her first letter explaining that Jackon's lung had saved a mother of three children and a grandmother of two.
“Texas and nationwide, organ donation remains the same from year to year, yet the waiting list numbers keep going up and up. So, we need to make people aware that there is a need for organ donors in this state and throughout the country,” said Michelle Segovia with Texas Organ Sharing Alliance .
At 80 percent, Segovia said Austin has an above average consent rate for organ donation. But only a fraction who are organ donors are able to give.
“In order to be an organ donor, one must die in a very specific way. You must die first of all in a hospital, be brain dead and on a ventilator in order for you to be even considered an organ donor," she said. “Less than three percent of people who die in hospitals actually die in that manner.”
There are about 111,000 people nationwide who need organs, yet only about 8,000 organs a year are donated. Kidneys make up the largest need, with nearly 90,000 on a waiting list.
Of 24 million Texans, only 1.8 million are actually registered to be organ donors. To see if you're on that list or to sign up,click here .
"He loved skateboarding. He did it everyday," Rebecca Norris said. "Apparently the city of Buda has approved to have a bench with a plaque on it, in honor of him at the new skateboard park that will be built next year."
The new skateboarding park, which will be built just south of downtown Buda on an acre of land, will also be named after the youngster.
"All the people that we've talked to and all the stories they've shared with us, it's just amazing how much he's been a positive influence to so many different lives. He was only 15, but he did a lot in his 15 years," said his father, Anthony Norris, who also works for the Austin Police Department.
Jackson's room is still filled with everything he cherished most, books neatly lined in bookshelves and signs and posters hung up in his room, one of which reads, "Jackson Boulevard."
"He loved to share joy. You could just see it in his eyes and on his face. He was a star," his mother said.
"He would put a sign on his shirt saying 'free hugs' and he would come home and talk about how he had 300 hugs, from girls, of course," she said. "The writings on his arms. The girls would just write 'We love you' and draw phone numbers. He was just our little Justin Bieber look-alike. He was just the cutest kid ever."
The family said Jackson always liked to help others. In his memory, his family's church, Hays Hills Baptist Church at 1401 N. FM 1626, Buda, Texas, 78610, is accepting donations in his memory for the youth ministry scholarship fund -- money which will be set aside to help local high school students attend mission trips.
So far, $5,000 has been raised.