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Family remembers son, brother, talented golfer by paying it forward

Jackson Zinn was 22 when he died in a crash while returning to college from a golf tournament – his family wants him to be remembered as talented, giving and kind.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — It is hard when a great story ends too early – Jackson Zinn’s family knows the feeling all too well after his story was cut short – but his story is one his family will continue to tell so he's not forgotten.   

“It was too soon,” Jackson’s sister Avery Zinn said. “I wish he was here. It was too soon.”

The story they want people to remember when they think about Jackson has nothing to do with the one written in the news headlines from March 15, 2022. 

The one that tells the story of how 22-year-old Jackson was killed in west Texas while returning to college from a golf tournament. A truck hit the vehicle Jackson and his seven teammates and coach were in—only two of them survived.

It is not about that story for Greg and Jen Zinn, Jackson’s parents. His life was so much more than that.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Jen Zinn said. “He made me a mom—he gave me such a gift.”

Greg remembers him for those perfect days the two were able to hit the golf course together. One time he remembers playing with Jackson on a course that had been host to many greats. Jackson was giddy. And so happy.

“It was such a great day and he kept hugging me and bouncing around and making great shots and it was just one of the best days ever,” Greg Zinn said.

Little sisters always have stories about their big brothers. Audrey and Avery Zinn are no different. Avery remembered a time when they were headed to soccer practice and Jackson decided it was time for a lesson.

“There was this family who needed money, and he made me take out all the cash I had which was no more than $5, and he took all the cash out that he had and he gave it to them, and said, ‘Give when you can,’” Avery said.

Audrey knew a brother who was a gentleman. “He was super respectful and charming,” she said. “It’s super rare for today.”

It has been a year since Jackson has been gone. The stories keep flowing. And it helps.

“There will not be a day I don’t think about him, or smile, or get a little tear in my eye that he’s not with us right now. But we’ll see him again. We will,” Greg Zinn said.

In August 2022, the Zinn family held a golf tournament in Jackson’s name and raised more than $80,000. The money was for tuition for the two survivors of the crash and four returning teammates. 

The Zinns plan is to support the students through graduation, as well as create a scholarship for Ralston Valley High School, Jackson’s alma mater in Arvada. This year’s tournament will be on July 8. Find more information about available tee times



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