Former Marine finds new way to serve community
After two Iraq tours in the Marine Corps, Gavriel Jacobs’ plan was to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I wanted to come back from Iraq and the Middle East to go from serving my country to serving my community and really planned on joining the Seattle Police or Washington State Patrol,” Jacobs said.
But when he lost his leg below the knee in combat and spent a year in the hospital, he had to rethink his career goals.
“I was a little rudderless for a while, so I went back to school, because I enlisted straight out of high school,” Jacobs said.
Starting community college in the basement of a hospital while still in a wheelchair, Jacobs began learning a bit more about law.
“The more I learned about law and prosecution the more I realized that I may never be able to be a police officer but this was a way I could serve my community and be involved in the criminal justice system with the skills I had remaining,” Jacobs said.
While his prosthetic leg is the most visible sign of a disability, Jacobs said complications from a spinal fusion and an ankle fusion are problems that affect him the most.
“If it was just the prosthetic, I could probably run marathons,” Jacobs said.
In 2010 Jacobs started law school at Stanford University and by his second summer of law school he was back in his hometown starting a Rule 9-A internship with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, District Court Unit.
Although his injuries created huge challenges, Jacobs believes that losing his leg set him on a path that he would never have found otherwise.
“I wouldn’t change anything. Losing my leg and the injuries I have certainly changed the course of my life that would be tough to replicate any other way. I wouldn’t have gone to law school or met my wife the way I did,” Jacobs said.
Discovering that he wanted a job that directly influenced his community, Jacobs didn’t bother with applying to the big law firms.
“Once I came to that realization, I was focused on coming to this office [Prosecuting Attorney’s Office],” Jacobs said. “I put all my eggs in this basket and was fortunate that it worked out.”
The past year, Jacobs has been a full time employee and currently works in the Violent/ Economic Crimes unit as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney at the Regional Maleng Justice Center in Kent. He enjoys the work environment where he said the focus isn’t on how many cases a prosecutor wins but on promoting justice.
“People really give you a lot of independence about how morally you think the case should be prosecuted, but at the same time, there’s a really tight network of support,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the best part about what he does is the value it brings to the community.
“My favorite part is being able to come into work every day and feel like I’m doing work that needs to be done that’s of value to the community and providing a service that helps solve problems and make the community safer,” Jacobs said.
Thank you for your service Mr. Jacobs and for being a role model for people with disabilities. I totally admire you and hold you in high esteme.
C/O Ken Potts US Army Retired (Combat Wounded Vietnam Veteran)
Thanks for your service and commitment to community and justice, Mr. Jacobs. Your story is inspiring.
Semper Fi Jacob! Excellent job overcoming the adversities life has thrown your way!
All my best wishes for you, Jacobs