Ken Jakubec of Austintown will be honored as the Veteran of the Year at the United Veterans Council of Greater Youngstown's 76th annual Recognition and Awards Banquet Friday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Center, 4500 Norquest Blvd., Austintown.
Nominated by the Marine Corps League Detatchment 494, Jakubec is a 1964 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School and served in the U.S. Marine Corps 1964-68.
He enlisted June 8 after graduating high school and was on a 120-day delay for aviation and entered boot camp at Paris Island. He went to Camp Geiger and then to Memphis, Tenn., for aviation school.
Jakubec volunteered for hydraulics, where he reported at the Marine Air Station at Quantico, Va. While at Quantico, he was an aviation hydraulic and pneumatic systems and quality control technician on all Marine helicopters, including Marine One, which flies the president of the United States.
He also had an auxiliary power plant license to start small turbine engines and operate hydraulic systems for final check.
Jakubec was a sergeant and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the hydraulic department before he joined the test and evaluation squadron. While in this role, it developed, with the factory representatives, the armor plating, sand filters Ch-46, rocket pods, M-60 and miniguns on the Huey helicopters and 50 caliber gun mounts on the Ch-46 A and Ds used in Vietnam.
Jakubec was promoted to the rank of sergeant and had 15 months in grade as a E-5 before leaving the service. He then retired from General Motors in 2005 after 36 1/2 years and is currently the maintenance manager and special events coordinator at Quaker Steak and Lube in Austintown, after serving as a front of house manager 2007 to 2014 in Austintown.
He puts on the Patriots Day ceremony since 2006 that honors 14 veterans, safety forces and individuals each year who served during or after World War II. To date, 141 individuals have been recognized.
He is on the Austintown Schools Veterans Committee that holds the annual Veterans Day assembly at Fitch High School. He also is a life member of the Tri-State Marines 494, where he is currently the junior vice commander.
In 2016, he became the Toys For Tots coordinator for Mahoning and Trumbull counties and is in charge of picking up toys for more than 200 locations with his 23 volunteers for the Marines at the YoungstownWarren Air Reserve Station.
Jakubec also played a big part in the construction of the Veterans Memorial in front of Fitch by assisting Seth Welsh, a past youth awardee, by driving to Michigan for the flag poles. He also donated the flags and his backhoe to complete the project.
Additionally, he helps with veterans funerals and other events, even lending a hand to the DAV when needed.
He has served on the Austintown Board of Education for 16 years, from 1987 to 2003, and currently, through 2018. Has been active in the schools and community for more than 49 years.
Jakubec's wife, Lena, worked for the U.S. Army at Fort Myers, Arlington, Va., as well as the Pentagon, and together they have two children, Kimberly and Ken, and two grandchildren, Kaitlin and Dannah.
The social gathering will begin 6 p.m., with the dinner immediately following at 6:30 p.m. As part of the event, a veteran, citizen and youth will be recognized and presented with awards for their patriotic and civic contributions to the community during 2016.
In 1969, the United Veterans Council began recognizing important work and achievements by veterans who have affected and contributed to the veterans community. By 1971, this concept expanded to the non-veteran community for public recognition, and the youth category recently was added to acknowledge the young people in the community and encourage their efforts.
Tickets for the event can be purchased by contacting Treasurer Rod Hosler at 330-788-3270 or a participating local veterans post.