Exclusive: Mayor Jake Day speaks from East Africa on deployment, missing family
SALISBURY, Md. – It has been nearly six months since Salisbury Mayor Jake Day told the city he was being deployed to Africa. We caught up with the mayor about his time there, what’s been helping him through, and what he’s looking forward to when coming home.
“Captain Jake Day, Deputy Director of Information Operations & Special Technical Operations Chief for combined joint task force horn of Africa,” that’s his title. It sounds like a mouthful, but here on the Eastern Shore, he’s known as Salisbury’s Mayor Day. The city leader was deployed to East Africa as part of the National Guard in early June.
“Part of me feels like we’ve been here forever, part of me feels like we just got here and there’s not enough time to get everything done we need to get done,” Mayor Day said.
He’s temporarily left behind his beloved hometown, a place that he says he misses daily.
“I miss my little girls, I miss our city, I miss home,” he said.
But despite missing his kids and the comfort of home, Mayor Day says he genuinely enjoys the work he’s doing in Djibouti.
“Depending on the day of the week we’re either up early, some of us are PT-ing, like we would back home or like we’re supposed to at home,” he said.
Other than getting workouts in, that Mayor Day says he’s still feeling the consequences of, he says his days across the ocean vary.
“Other days are filling sand bags and doing stuff like that as a team then we’re in the office and we work fairly long hours, 12-14 hour days depending on what’s needed,” he said.
While his work there is certainly different than the work he does in the downtown Salisbury government building, Mayor Day says he’s already finding ways to be a better leader back in the States.
“I also am very, very hopeful and optimistic that I’m learning things here, just going through experiences here that will serve me well back at home,” Mayor Day said.
But while he’s not here on the shore, and acting mayor Julia Glanz leads the way, Mayor day says he’s happy enough to see updates while he’s scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. One thing he says he can’t wait to see though? You guessed it: the downtown plaza.
“I am so excited to see it in person, Facebook doesn’t do it…even Instagram with all of it’s pretty pictures, doesn’t do justice to the experience of walking down the street, so I can’t wait to see,” Mayor Day said.
But before he has two feet here on the shorem he says he’s finding ways to still feel connected to the area. One of those ways was staying involved in the 2020 election.
“I got a Facebook message, which was wild, from the Postal Service worker who physically received my ballot and hand delivered it to the board of elections,” Mayor Day said.
And, of course, little tastes of home make his days overseas easier to get through.
“Our friends at operation we care back in Salisbury have sent a ton of packages here, so we’re sharing those with folks across the post, and making sure that love gets spread all around,” he said.
So what’s on the mayor’s agenda for when he’s back on Delmarva?
“I’m, going to give you the post super bowl answer, I’m going to Disney World,” Mayor Day said, laughing. “If it’s open I’m going to Disney World! I’m taking the kids to Disney world.”
In the meantime, though, he says he’s thankful to have so much support, even from 7,500 miles away.
“You know, there’s a small part of you that feels when you extract yourself from all the comforts of home, that the world forgets about you a little bit, but for no second here have I felt like that,” he said.
Mayor Day adds that, ahead of Veteran’s Day, he wants to thank all of the men and women who served before him and alongside him. As for any plans after he returns to work as Mayor, he says that’s not on his mind right now, and that he’s just focusing on work.