By Robin L. Gardner
What is the one thing our state is missing? If you ask 13-year-old Ruth Jackson and her 11-year-old brother J.J., from Harrisburg, they would say a state logo.
These two enterprising kids have set up a Web site and started a battle to get North Carolina its very own logo.
They noticed other states had logos. South Carolina had one with a palmetto tree and a crescent moon. “Why shouldn’t we have one?”
They came up with the idea after their “Grandpa Baker” had taken the two on a summer vacation, exploring 12 North Carolina lighthouses. Their grandfather wanted to share his knowledge with the kids.
“He would have been thrilled,” the children’s mom, Beth Jackson, 45, said.
“My father had a heart condition since he was young, but absolutely loved the North Carolina coast. He loved the lighthouses. His time in the Coast Guard had meant a lot to him. He was only in the Coast Guard for four years, because of his heart,” Beth said.
It was because of that condition that he had to leave. Beth explained that her father really appreciated service to our country.
“He saw the beauty of the lighthouses and that each one was unique. It was always kind of calling the men home, it was a beacon,” Beth said.
“Two summers ago, he took us to see all the lighthouses, well not all of them, but most of them. They were so pretty,” Ruth said.
“I remember meeting my grandfather’s Coast Guard buddies. I got see a lot of them. He really enjoyed that,” said J.J.
After the summer vacation, “Grandpa Baker” passed away.
That’s when the idea for the logo came about.
“After he died, we thought it would be a great way to remember him. It would also be a great symbol for North Carolina,” Ruth said.
The kids wanted to honor their grandfather and his love of lighthouses with a project promoting his interest. They started an online business, and a petition to adopt a logo as the official state logo.
Ruth and J.J. had the perfect logo in mind.
Family friend Mark Coyle, a state law enforcement officer, had designed and copyrighted a logo of a lighthouse in 2004.
“I came up with the about eight years ago while I was driving on the interstate. I saw the South Carolina logo plenty of times. I then saw it on a car registered to North Carolina, and my brain stated to spin,” said Coyle.
He drew several different versions on a napkin, until he found on that he felt was the essence of the state. Then Coyle submitted the drawing to Washington, D.C., and trademarked it.
“It’s not about the logo. It’s about the concept behind it. It boils down to a state pride issue. Pride and loyalty to your state,” Coyle said.
He thought the logo celebrates a beautiful blue-sky day at the coast. Together, the Jackson kids and Coyle partnered to create “NC Logo, LLC.”
“I’m more a consultant. They will come to me with ideas and I give them my opinion,” Coyle said.
“I think it is wonderful for them to understand parts of a business. Obviously, you have gross and net. The kids know their inventory. They help with shipping and handling. They were very much involved in what it would be, and how to the pricing. Of course, they had help with that. It’s a wonderful thing for them,” Beth said.
They are going to donate a portion of profits from the apparel to a charity for kids, hopefully dealing with heart issues. They have already approached a couple charities.
The Web site sells merchandise featuring the logo. They also have a link to a petition for people to sign in support of the official logo. The kids hope to present the petition, with thousands of signatures, to the state legislature and make their logo the official state logo.
Their Web site is http://www.NCLogo.com.
• Contact reporter Robin L. Gardner: 704-789-9140.