I grew up in Brookston, Indiana, just north of Lafayette, home of Purdue University. That's where I raised my kids and spent the majority of my life. I was awarded an art scholarship at Purdue where my original goal was to become and art therapist. Needing to work to help pay for my education, I took a course to be an EMT which changed the trajectory of my career. I was always interested in emergency medicine and helping people. I absolutely loved it.
I moved to Bloomington to attend Indiana University where I met my husband Larry Jacobson, OTA’s Senior Director of Instructor Development and Student Services, and why I eventually ended up in Irvine, California working at OTA. We were best friends for several months when we first saw When Harry Met Sally, which would have more significance than we knew at the time. That was 1989.
We dated for three years. He graduated, and eventually went off to Los Angeles to start a career in the music industry. Moving to Los Angeles was too big of a leap for me at the time, so we went our separate ways. I went on to paramedic school and met the kids' dad, got married and raised a family for 17 years. Our marriage eventually ended, but I loved being a stay-at-home mom and volunteering. I was on the West Lafayette school board for 12 years. I got involved in politics. I was a lobbyist for various education initiatives and helped write a couple of bills that eventually became law. I also worked as a marketer in hospice and long-term care.
Eventually I became a volunteer CASA (Court Appointed Special advocate). I advocated for abused and neglected children in the court system for over eight years. That was my passion; being a mom, supporting my kids, and advocating for children in need. I love making a difference in people’s lives. It gives me a sense of purpose.
On my 50th birthday, many years after Larry left for Los Angeles, he reached out to me to say happy birthday and we started chatting. One day during one of our many conversations, he asked, "Hey, when are you coming out here?" I said, “buy me a ticket." The next thing you know, I was on a plane to California. Not too long after, we were married. It took us almost thirty years, a bit longer than Harry and Sally, but well worth the wait!