By John Hernandez
Copper Area News Publishers
This year’s Pinal County Town Hall focused on volunteers and the joys of volunteerism. We at the Copper Basin News want to introduce our readers to volunteers in the Copper Basin area. You may or may not know these people. They all have one thing in common – they give of themselves just because.
If you live in the Copper Corridor, chances are you probably know who L.S. “Jake” Jacobson is.
Jake is the C.O.O. and President of Copper Basin Railway (CBRR), a short line freight railroad headquartered in the Kearny-Hayden area.
CBRR is owned by ASARCO-GRUPO Mexico. It is also one of the safest railroads in North America thanks to Jake’s leadership, management style which emphasizes safety, and his railroad experience which spans over 50 years.
Jake is the only Arizonan to be named North America’s Railroader of the Year and Great Railroader of the Century. He also has a safety award named after him, the “Jake Award” which is given to North American short line railroads with excellent safety records.
Jake is well respected in the railroad business and by his employees. During a flood in 1993 which took a large section of track out and damaged the homes of some of his employees, Jake offered interest free loans and helped his people get back on their feet. He and his workers worked tirelessly to successfully save the remaining track. Jake believes in the “sincere caring of the well being of your fellow worker.” The company’s motto which appears on the trains is “Our Real Power Is in the Pride of Our People,” attests to his caring and management style. Jake says he has been giving back since he was a teenager. He continues to give and volunteers regularly.
“I feel that we are privileged to run our railroad through the community,” Jake said. “The railroad and community has been good to me and I need to put something back in the well.”
Jake believes in giving back to the community and in supporting the local economy. The Copper Basin Railway purchases locally when they can.
Jake also does volunteer work as well as sponsoring charitable programs.
Jake volunteers as a member of the Copper Corridor Economic Coalition. He is on the Board of Directors Executive Committee for the Central Arizona College Foundation and has provided scholarships for the College for Kids program at Central Arizona College-Aravaipa Campus. Jake is on the Board of Arizona Operation Lifesaver a nationwide non-profit public safety and education program which works to eliminate collisions and deaths at railroad crossings and rights-of-way.
Every year he works with the Salvation Army and the Kearny Fire Department to collect toys and distribute them to kids who otherwise would not would not have gifts for Christmas. “The Salvation Army and the Kearny Fire Department do a great job getting toys for the kids,” he said. “I think I enjoy it as much as the kids.” Every year, Jake delivers the toys to the Kearny Fire Department just before Christmas in his vintage black Ford Mustang convertible (which the Copper Basin News fondly refers to as Jake’s “one horse open sleigh”).
When Jake was asked why he volunteers and gives back to the community, he said, “It’s kind of what goes around comes around. I have enjoyed my volunteer work and I am glad to be a part of it. We should set an example for our young kids and teach them the joy of giving.”