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Austintown man picked for Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame

AUSTINTOWN — A former Austintown Board of Education member has been named to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

Kenneth P. Jakubec, 73, is one of 20 veterans inducted statewide and is the only one from this area honored this year.

He joined the Marine Corps in October 1964 at the age of 17. He served four years in the Marine Corps Air Wing from 1964 to 1968.

He had a special (Yankee White) White House top secret clearance and was a sergeant with Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which flies the president of the United States. Jakubec was a hydraulic and pneumatic systems technician and a quality control inspector on five different helicopters and was in charge of the hydraulic department. In 2019, Jakubec was recognized with his Presidential Service Certificate and Badge.

Throughout the 1970s, Jakubec served as a volunteer coach for the Arrow Track Club and captured five straight cross country championships. He also was instrumental in the installation of several significant updates to the track field at Austintown Fitch High School. He has volunteered for Special Olympics, coached sixth-grade basketball, administered the Optimist Club Tri-Star basketball skills contest, developed a 5,000-meter cross country course, and served as chairman of Toys for Tots.

Jakubec served on the Austintown Board of Education from 1987 to 2003 and again from 2014 to 2017, amassing 20 years in that role and serving twice as board president. He also has served as a three-time president of the Greater Youngstown Track Officials Association. He started the local Patriots Day event, which is held each year at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Austintown and also organized a program that connects students with service members past and present to share their stories.

Jakubec received the Marine Corps League Meritorious Service Award in 2015 and the following year was named Veteran of the Year by the United Veterans Council of Youngstown. He is a member of the Austintown Fitch Athletics Hall of Fame as a contributor and the Austintown Growth Foundation Hall of Fame.

Jakubec installed flag poles on the property of Quaker Steak & Lube in Austintown for the five branches of the Armed Forces. He also got the road the restaurant is located on changed from Interstate Boulevard to Patriot Boulevard.

Jakubec helped with the Woman’s Veteran Bridge dedication in Austintown in 2018. Also in 2018, he organized over 470 bikers to escort The Moving Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as it passed through Austintown to Warren.

He has donated his time, money and military flags to a veterans’ memorial in front of Fitch High School, helping a student complete his Eagle Scout project. Jakubec also researched and developed a list of Austintown students who were killed in action since World War II. The list is at Fitch High School and is etched into gold plates, which he donated.

Jakubec advises the Students Helping Veterans club at Fitch. Students volunteer their time to put out flags at the local schools for appropriate days as well as hold an annual dinner to honor veterans, an event he started in 2017. Jakubec also started the Lunch with a Veteran program at Fitch. Veterans and activity duty military members eat lunch with the students. The students are allowed to ask questions and talk to these men and women about their experiences.

Jakubec also sits on the committee for the Veterans Day ceremony at Fitch High School, has spoken at the middle school for Veterans Day and Memorial Day and volunteers to help the band with its veterans chili cookoff by getting veteran judges from each branch.

Jakubec is a member of Tri-State Marines Detachment 494, American Legion Post 737 Lake Milton and DAV Chapter 2. He serves on Rifle and Color Guard and is the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots coordinator for his area.

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