, 45, will receive the 2009 "Victories of Spirit" Award from the Sharp Healthcare Foundation
on Friday, June 5.
"If you're driving along the back area near Costco
in Poway, some of the stop signs blink.
Have you ever noticed that?
Well they blink because of me," he
was referring to the solar-powered, enhanced visibility stop signs that were installed after an accident that radically changed his
life five years ago.
It was a November afternoon in 2003.
had left work early to go to the dentist.
"Sometimes the dentist isn't always so bad," he
said in retrospect.
was driving his
Acura TL sedan when "a girl who was lost drove through a stop sign and hit me on the passenger side and knocked me off the road into a ditch.
"They'd say, 'Things aren't always going to be this way, Paul
One day, you'll even to able to drive again.' And, I thought, 'What are you crazy?
I can hardly move, much less drive,'" said Jacobson
"And, of course, now I'm driving."
has put 47,000 miles on his
handicap-customized Ford E- 350 van during the past three years, including a couple of trips to Vegas to try his
luck at the Black Jack tables and an adaptive ski trip to Colorado.
Being able to drive, he
said, has given him a freedom and independence that he
"If you were to take away the van, that's the one thing that would really bug me," he
"I like to get out there."
Today, the 45-year-old Jacobson
busy life from a power chair and his
van, dedicating much of his
time to mentoring and supporting newly-injured spinal cord patients.
In recognition of his
inspirational overcoming of a catastrophic injury and giving back to the community, on Friday, June 5, at 6 p.m., Jacobson
will be among four honorees who will receive 2009 "Victories of Spirit" Awards from the Sharp HealthCare Foundation
at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
We interviewed Jacobson
three-bedroom, one level home where he
lives with his
companion dog, Gigi, a 140-pound, tan-colored Great Dane.
not a service dog," Jacobson
service person basically.
I walk her
and stare at her
People love her
loves hanging out, sunning herself on the grass in Jacobson's backyard, and trotting beside him tethered to his
motorized wheelchair on their 8-mile-an-hour "walks" around the hilly Santaluz gated golf community.
If they ever make a movie about Jacobson
, Adam Sandler would be a natural.
(Photo by Jon Clark)
(Photo by Jon Clark)
Jacobson was born in New Haven, Connecticut.
was the middle child in a family of three children.
dad owned and operated electrical contracting business that was started in the 1930s by Paul's grandfather.
He earned a B.S. in marketing management from University of Maryland in 1987; an MBA from University of Bridgeport in 1990, and launched his Internet marketing career with companies in Connecticut before being recruited in 1997 by Road Runner Sports, the running shoes and apparel company headquartered in San Diego.
injury experience, he
said; "You get comfortable in the hospital.
If you push a button, a nurse comes running," he
life became more challenging.
Since his discharge from Sharp's inpatient center, Jacobson has served on the boards of two foundations to aid spinal cord injured patients.
He is currently on the board of the HeadNorth Foundation.
is an organization that helps folks here in San Diego County by giving grants to individuals with spinal cord injuries," he