PEORIA - Who can put a price on a mentor? No one if you ask Jamir Jackson.
Every young man needs someone to look up to, and for Jackson, 15, that person is his big "brother," Pat Ferrell.
"He's been more than a mentor. He's been like a father figure," Jackson said. "He shows me that I can do anything."
"To me that just inspires me; to see how he does," said Ferrell.
The two are joined at the hip and have been that way for ever since they met through the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
They go on trips. Both love sports, and Jackson is part of the family. In fact, Ferrell's 10-year-old son calls Jackson his brother.
Jackson says Ferrell has made him a better person and should get more credit. Now, Jackson won't have to worry about that.
Ferrell was recently named Best Big Brother of the Year in the state. But he's more proud of his relationship with Jackson and how much the young man has matured.
"That's what makes it easy. He's so appreciative of just the little things; spending time with him. Just calling him, texting him, and that's what makes everything worthwhile," said Ferrell.
This friendship lifted Jackson when a serious knee injury put his love of basketball on hold. Jackson, a leader on his high school basketball team, could miss two full seasons of play. But Jackson said he never hung his head because of Ferrell, and for that, he could not be more thankful for his "teammate."
"Because he has his own life, and to do things out of his time and help me get through things I'm getting through right now is more than I could explain," said Jackson.
The award means Ferrell could be named the Best Big Brother in the nation.
Regardless if he wins, try convincing Jackson otherwise.
The Big Brothers, Big Sisters program says it needs your help.
On March 22-24, the program is hosting "Bowl for Kids Sake", a pay-to-bowl fundraiser.
For more information on upcoming events and how you can participate, visit hoibbbs.org or call (309) 637-1771.