(WYTV) – A local veteran is among the latest group to join the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Ken Jakubec is a lifelong Austintown resident. He served in the Marine Corps Air Wing and has been serving his community ever since.
Awards and plaques line the walls of his house as special recognition for all he has done.
“This is accumulation of 52 years, everything I’ve done for everything — the county, state, regional area,” Jakubec said.
He’s proud of all his accomplishments, rightfully so because he has done a lot.
While talking about the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, he said, “To me, it’s my crowning achievement as a volunteer.”
Of the 20 inductees this year, Jakubec is the only Marine.
Due to COVID-19, he couldn’t go to Columbus to get the award from Governor Mike DeWine, but the governor made sure the virtual ceremony was just as special.
Jakubec’s story started in Austintown, where he’s a lifelong Falcon.
He served in the Marine Corps Air Wing from 1964 to 1968, enlisting at just 17 years old.
“I was underweight by like 20 pounds and I went through aviation school in Memphis. Scored high,” he said.
Then, the fun started. Jakubec unknowingly volunteered to learn about hydraulics. After graduating, he was sent to the Marine Corps Air Station in Quantico in 1965.
“So took 10 days leave. I see these helicopters flying around with tops on them. I got there, checked in and that’s when I realized it was the Presidential Helicopter Squadron HMX1. I worked on five different aircraft,” Jakubec said.
When most people just got trained on one. But that took a lot of hard work, dedication and schooling.
“I fell into a job that most people would dream about. It’s a very select group, now they’re hand-picked to go there. I came right out of aviation school. They needed five replacements so they just sent us there,” he said.
Jakubec just received a Presidential Service Award, an honor 51 years in the making. It’s for his service to the White House while serving with the Marine One Helicopter Squadron, the one that flies the president of the United States.
He served under President Lyndon B. Johnson.
“Semper Fidelis is embedded in every Marine, always faithful, and if I had to do it again, I think if you ask any veteran in any branch of service, if they had to go in and do it again whether it was Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, they would go back and do it again. I would go tomorrow,” Jakubec said.
To read more stories about local and national veterans, visit our Veterans Voices section on WYTV.com. Also, be sure to tune in for a special Veterans Voices segment this Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. on 33 WYTV.