The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Tom Jakobs puts extra into ordinary lives in Church

Guided by his faith, deacon helps disabled citizens through his business, non-profit

Published: July 22, 2013   
Deacon Tom Jakobs (left) assists Billy Arnold while Barret Ewing and Tim Arnold look on. In 2012, Be Extraordinary helped Billy Arnold of Cedarville achieve his goal of accessing a computer after suffering a brain stem stroke.

Name: Deacon Tom Jakobs

Parish: Christ the King

City: Fort Smith

Age: 55

Family: married to Diane for 30 years; one son, Eric

Why you want to know Tom: Deacon Tom Jakobs, who was ordained on Nov. 17, 2012, enjoys the ministry of adult faith formation, RCIA, Theology on Tap and adult classes and guest lecturing for Little Rock Scripture Study on Job, Isaiah and Psalms. His company, Invotek, has been creating technology for disabled people for 25 years. Recently, he established a non-profit organization, Be Extraordinary, to help the disabled achieve life goals, such as completing high school or college, starting a business or becoming more independent at work.

In His Own Words

Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Arkansas Catholic delivers a year of faith.” What have you done or plan to do to strengthen your faith this year?

I enjoy reading books and attending conferences on spirituality. I like to learn how others approach their faith. I also enjoy getting together with parishioners and just talking.

Have you been Catholic all your life?

I was baptized as an infant in Chicago but never attended church on a regular basis. In college I went to non-denominational church and was in a church band. When I met my wife Diane, I saw her Catholic faith was very important to her. I went to RCIA when we got engaged and was confirmed in 1982.

Why do you like being Catholic?

I like the depth and breadth of the tradition. No matter what I am feeling, one of the saints has been there before and has good advice for me.

What is the best thing about your parish and school?

I am impressed by the school staff, especially our principal, Marna Boltuc. The best thing about my parish is the smiling faces that I greet in front of the church before Mass. You can’t have a bad day after experiencing that.

What do you do you do for an occupation?

I am an engineer by training. For the past 25 years I have worked on creating technologies to help people who cannot use their hands to control a computer. Eighteen months ago, I partnered with others to create a new non-profit named Be Extraordinary that helps people with severe disabilities to achieve a life goal. I really love working with people who have disabilities.

What are your hobbies?

Motorcycle riding and tennis. I love going on long distance (one- to two-week) rides with Diane or friends.

What is your favorite saint or Scripture verse?

Over the past several years I have become very fond of St. Francis. My favorite Scripture verse these days is Luke 10:27. I love the fact that Luke doesn’t separate love of God and love of neighbor into two commandments.

To learn more about Deacon Jakobs' organization, please click here.

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