Come visit us at our new location at 1210 E. 10th Ave!
David Jacobson spent over 20 years working for Access Alaska as an advocate, mentor, peer, civil rights activist and manager. He was the embodiment of the Independent Living Movement. In November of 2010 David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
David left us Sunday, Sept 16 around 6:40 p.m. David had a long list of things he wanted to get done before he died. He managed to check most of them off the list. The Access Alaska endowment fund being his last big project.
Last week David wrote:
My life is now coming full circle and I wish to thank Access Alaska for helping me achieving what I was capable of and thereby live a meaningful life. I wish to set up an endowment fund so that Access Alaska can continue to provide services into the future.
I’m asking you to help and here’s the reason why:
My story is not unusual. Many, many others have similar stories of how Access Alaska taught them that their lives were defined not by their disabilities but by their capabilities and how they then became part of a powerful force to help transform our entire community. All of us, not just disabled persons are the beneficiaries of our strengthened community.
It is difficult to draw a line between “the disabled” and “the rest of us” in any case, and, as we age, that distinction becomes even more tenuous. Access Alaska provides resources & teaches valuable skills to a wide range of people and the ripples thereby created touch us all.
I challenge you to give generously up to the amount you are able to create an endowment for Access Alaska and I pledge that I will match your donation up to $100,000. Your donation is fully tax deductible.
Between us, my friends, we can ensure that Access Alaska remains fiscally able to continue its wonderful work into the future.
A service will be held in November, details about any plans will be forthcoming.
Please share your stories about David on our Facebook page.
Obituary in News Miner, September 23.
Please read this News Miner article about David’s last wish.
David loved his cabin in the Alaska Range, one of Dena’s last status updates she wrote about the cabin, “It is such a life affirming awesome place it’s impossible to feel unconnected to events which occurred millions of years ago and it is comforting to know that mountains will endure long after our deaths.”
This professional HR position helps develop, monitor, maintain, track, and carryout a variety of cross-organizational HR and personnel functions, procedures and practices for 60+ office staff and over 300 part-time field employees located in our Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Kenai service areas. Primary responsibilities are to work closely HR manager to coordinate our employee benefit programs; enter data into and maintain our HR databases; respond to internal and external data and information requests; assist the HR Manager with unique and special projects; and to fulfill the Corporation’s official HR compliance, benefits, and record keeping roles.
This is not an entry-level position, so the successful candidate must be able to demonstrate exceptional capabilities in the following areas:
- Development and maintenance of HR information systems using ACCESS and EXCEL-based software systems; a working knowledge of StaffFiles-Pro software is a plus.
- Benefits administration including our medical, dental, vision, wellness, and 403b retirement programs.
- Employee relations including problem solving and conflict resolution skills a must.
- Project Management, meeting facilitation and presentation skills desired.
- Must have MS Office Level II skills.
Applicants must have a minimum at least three years of progressively responsible experience in a similar HR position.
The selected candidate will be creative, collaborative, able to work in a team-oriented, cross-organizational environment, and have excellent interpersonal communication skills. The duties require a very high degree of confidentiality and professional judgment, and the ability to work concurrently on a variety of important and time sensitive tasks. You must have reliable transportation and pass a state-required criminal background check.
The starting salary is in the $34-36k/yr. range (DOE), with excellent health benefits and leave policies, training and development opportunities, all in a warm and friendly work environment.. Please submit a resume & brief application letter confidentially to:
HR Department – HR Coordinator
Access Alaska, Inc.
1217 E. 10th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
(If using e-mail please put “HR Coordinator” in the subject line.)
We strongly encourage persons who experience a disability to apply.
Access Alaska – Anchorage, an agency promoting the independence of Alaskans who experience disabilities and seniors, is seeking a full time Independent Living Advocate.
- FUNCTIONS: Helps persons with disabilities develop independent living plans, acquire life skills & achieve physical & emotional independence. Provides various types of vocational, educational, housing and transportation information, referrals & follow-up; coordinates goal development, services & advocacy.
- QUALIFICATIONS: 2-3 yrs. in health or human services field or combination of applicable experience. Experience working with individuals experiencing a traumatic/acquired brain injury or mental illness preferred.
- EDUCATION: BS/BA or equivalent preferred
- SALARY: DOE
Great work environment! Excellent training and benefits; requires reliable transportation. Send resume & application letter to Access Alaska, 1217 E. 10th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501 Attn: ANC – ILA; or e-mail: email@example.com, and put “ANC – ILA” in the subject line.
Access Alaska is an agency that promotes the independence and integration of Alaskans with disabilities and an Equal Opportunity Employer.
As an Independent Living Center,
we strongly encourage persons who experience a disability to apply!
Fairbanks – October 2nd – UAF Wood Center Ballroom - Starts @6:30 pm
Kenai – October 5th - Visitors Center - Starts @6:30 pm
FREE Admission - Donations Appreciated!
For almost three decades Access Alaska has been opening doors to independence for seniors and Alaskans with disabilities right here in our local communities – Fairbanks, Mat-Su and south-central Alaska.
Each year, we proudly host an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) event to celebrate the 1990 signing of the Act. Our celebration is to, as the late Mat-Su Mayor Curtis Menard wrote, “remind us to keep alive the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for Alaskans with disabilities.”
This event is held in Fairbanks, Anchorage and this year in Kenai.
This year Access Alaska is pleased to welcome Luis Carlos Montalván to Alaska. Montalván is the New York Times bestselling author of “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.”
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist people who experience disabilities. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being—until Luis.
Their story is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other’s souls.
Please let us know if you have special or disability-specific requirements. ASL Interpreters will be available. Service dogs welcome!
Sponsored by Access Alaska and University of Alaska Fairbanks
Some of you probably don’t know but Access Alaska Anchorage will be moving. This year we received State of Alaska capital funds to purchase the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Clinic building, now we just received a Rasmuson Foundation Grant to help with our purchase and remodel. Exciting times ahead for us! Thank you Rasmuson Foundation for your generous support and commitment to our future. More info here.
The tailor of my spirit
fashioned for me a cloak,
Cut from the cloth
of the father I knew,
not just the man
the world saw,
but the father
He longed to be,
if I were to be a father
I could be that man for him….
The Cloak, made over my lifetime,
hidden, all but forgotten,
lay folded in wait,
sprung from its hiding place
fitted itself to me
in less than a blink, at feeling
the first kick of my child, through
the thinning skin of her mother’s belly.
The strong fabric of many lives,
stitched, woven into a garment of identity
often liberating, in its confining nature,
always there, a perfect fit.
Over the years, snagged on reality, many times,
the fabric would fray & fringe,
never failing, always there, giving
purpose to my life, guiding
my every step.
I, in contemplation, am comforted,
seeing loose threads, thought lost,
were chosen by my children
to weave into their own garment,
now hanging in the closet of their soul
I know in my heart, Somewhere
my father is proud of the
way his grand children chose
to dress themselves.
On the last of my radiation treatments, in September of 1999, I waited to see the oncologist for my chemotherapy referral. I held the strange plastic mesh mask in my lap that had held my head motionless as the six million electron volts of x-ray radiation was beamed through my brain for all of the thirty treatments. The mask was made of a white thermal plastic that was heated, molded to my face and then bolted to a table as I lay there for twenty minutes for it to cool. I was glad my nuclear treatments were over, but was not looking forward to the twelve months of Chemo that would be starting soon. The mask was a trophy to hang on the wall as a reminder of just how far I had come. 2 brain surgeries and 30 radiation treatments completed, only one year of chemotherapy left to go. My Mother and daughter were with me, but I felt very alone. The thoughts of loosing another year to being sick seemed unbearable until I met the man with the blue mask.
A couple entered the waiting area and as they passed I noticed he had a mask much like mine. Unlike my mask, his was blue, and had the eyes, nose and mouth cut out. He seemed alone like me, separated from a world that has no clue what it feels like to have brain cancer. We eyed each other with the interest just as members of any elite group might; a conversation just seemed to start on its own. He seemed to know that I would understand his anxiety from the radiation burns and surgical scars that made my head look like a red swollen soft ball.
Within minutes we were opening up our lives to each other, trading stories, as two long lost friends, or two soldiers in a foxhole with a common enemy that was seeking to remove their life. Two souls met that talked and understood the language of a brain cancer patient. My mask was solid with only the standard holes left by the plastic mesh to see and breathe through, his mask had the eyes mouth and nose area cut out a little, so I asked if he were claustrophobic. He confirmed my suspicions and added that the MRIs were hellish and the valium was the only thing that saved him.
Then our conversation drifted toward our individual prognosis, his cancer seemed much worse than mine. As he opened up to me, in desperation to explain it to someone who might understand it became clear he had only a few weeks to live. As he unloaded his fears and frustrations on me, every passion filled word slammed home. His wife, just a little behind him and to the left, was out of his peripheral vision, and I could her face as she hung on every word as he retold a story she knew too well.
“Its in my liver, I do what they say! Its in my Lungs, I do what they say! And now it’s in my brain, and I am doing what they say again! But they tell me I only have a few weeks! Maybe six. As he inhaled for next verse of his tirade, I locked eyes with him, and then shifted my gaze to his petrified wife; he turned and saw her pained expression, as if her very core were being sucked out. As he looked back to me I nodded toward the hallway and asked if I could have a word with just him, he followed with his head bowed a little as his wife slumped into a chair sobbing into her hands. We had an unobstructed view of the waiting room through the glass of the personal agony she felt in having her husband torn from her. I was moved to speak some words of comfort, and don’t know where the words came from, but the words flowed with clarity that spoke to his heart as only another cancer patient could.
I said, “She really loves you?” He said, “I know.” I continued, “… and she has been with you through this entire ordeal?” He nodded yes. I said, “Your life is from now till it’s over; how do you want her to remember you? If you only have a few days, make them count! Be strong for her!”
He grabbed me in an appreciative hug, and thanked me. I could see them through the glass as they embraced ready to enjoy their remaining time together in this life.
I have reflected on those few moments of clarity over the last several years as I drift from brain cancer patient to brain cancer survivor status. The words I spoke to him were ones that I needed to hear. I have been given everything that man thought he wanted, and he had everything I thought I wanted. He had some one to love him his whole life through. I was given the time he wanted, but no partner to share it with.
Thinking of life as a proportion; it is difficult to say who got the better deal. I was chosen to live, and he was chosen to have love every minute of his earthly life. He felt his life being torn from him as I felt my true love slipping away with the part of my brain that was removed. I guess life is about suffering well, falling with grace, and loving as if your life depended on it, in the end it does.
PS. Three years later while sitting church, a nice lady walked in, and we talked a little… drank some coffee… talked a little more. And we were married in September of 2003.
Check out our employment section for details.
We strongly encourage persons who experience a disability to apply!
Every Tuesday at 11-1 p.m. at Access Alaska – Fairbanks [map]
All speakers and students of American Sign Language welcome.
Call Mike at Access Alaska to inquire about transportation 479-7940, TTY 474-8619, VP 866-971-2832.