More Than Classmates

Mitchell Jackson and Steve Wright became classmates at KDS in 6th grade.  During their school years they became close friends, played sports together, spent time at each other’s homes, and even double dated. They were two of 16 boys graduating in the KDS Class of 1981.  After graduation Steve and Mitchell both joined the United States Marine Corps and even reported to Parris Island, South Carolina, together.  Throughout the years, they remained close and always had each other’s backs.

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When Mitchell was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease more than 30 years ago, he knew that the day would come when he would need a kidney transplant to survive. When that day came in April of 2021, the search for a donor was a short one. Within a few days of the completion of the paperwork to be put on the transplant list, more than 25 family members, friends, classmates, and employees (past and present) contacted University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital to be tested to be Mitchell’s donor.

Steve and Mitchell are shown here just a few weeks after the transplant was done.

Steve and Mitchell are shown here just a few weeks after the transplant was done.

After months of information gathering and testing, Steve got the call that he was a perfect candidate to be Mitchell’s donor.  There were tears of joy as the two friends shared the news over the phone.  How do you find the words to thank your lifelong friend for the gift of life?  With these two, words were not necessary, other than the U.S. Marine Corps motto “Semper Fidelis”, always faithful.

When the surgery day finally came on July 30, 2021, Mitchell and Steve said a prayer, told a joke, fist bumped, and once again had each other’s backs. Today both men are home and continue to recover while thanking God every day for making them “more than classmates” so many years ago.

Mitchell and his wife Denise have one daughter, Kayla, who is a 2007 KDS graduate, and who is mother to their two grandsons, Remington and Ridge.  He co-owned and operated Jackson Paving for more than 40 years, and now owns Mosquito Joe with various offices throughout Northern Alabama.

Steve and his wife Liz have two children, Micah and Miranda, and one grandson, Harrison.  Steve works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.