William D. Jakovac
Residence: Shaler Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
I have retired from a U.S. Navy career that ran from March 31, 1970 to October 31, 1990. My first day of boot camp was on April Fools Day and I retired on Halloween. As an Electrician's Mate, I was usually assigned to the engineering spaces in power generation and distribution. My fifteen years of sea duty have all been with the Marines in the amphibious forces -- the Gator Navy. I have traveled extensively through the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and transited the Panama and Suez Canals. I became a Shellback crossing the Equator off the coast of Kenya, and became a Blue Nose (twice) when I crossed the Arctic Circle off Norway. I have been fortunate to see the Crown Jewels of England, the Acropolis in Athens, and the Great Pyramids and the entire King Tut exhibit at the Cairo Museum in Egypt.
The medical condition that qualified me for membership in the Paralyzed Veterans was transverse horizontal myelitis. The chickenpox I had as a child reactivated around my spinal cord. Although nothing was broken, my spinal cord was inflamed at the T-4 vertebra. As the inflammation wore off, the senses returned.
Personal awareness of what paralyzed veterans go through is my reason for being an active Paralyzed Veteran. Before I was paralyzed, I never really spent time with those who were paralyzed or otherwise disabled. Having seen and experienced a new world from a wheelchair, I became aware of the problems we face and what we do to overcome them. The chapter introduced me to adaptive sports and speaking to members of Congress on behalf of our members. I enjoy talking about our chapter and what we do.
Jobs or positions I've held for the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans include Secretary-Treasurer, Service Officer, Fundraising Chairman, Combined Federal Campaign speaker, and Sharing and Caring Committee representative. I turn in a monthly report of the time I spend on chapter business, but I do not keep track of my yearly hours. I spend my time to make Paralyzed Veterans a better organization.
You might like to know: My wife Jean joined my naval career in 1976 and survived fourteen years as a Navy wife. She works with me at chapter functions. We have a daughter, Stacey. I have an Associate Degree in Specialized Technology from Dean Institute of Technology. I relax and enjoy doing needlepoints. Most of them have been given as gifts or in support of raffles for veterans' programs. Many colorful ones help brighten the rooms of our veterans in the hospice wing of the Lebanon VA Medical Center.