Two locals inducted into the Florida Special Olympics Hall of Fame

Robert Jackson of Gadsden County and Melba Jacobs of Leon County joined five others in the Class of 2022.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 5:49 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -From hard work to the Hall of Fame.

Two familiar faces for Special Olympics Florida are now being recognized for their dedication to the organization.

Robert Jackson of Gadsden County and Melba Jacobs of Leon County joined five others in the Class of 2022.

Both new members have remarkable stories, Melba Jacobs has been a volunteer, a coach and much more helping the organization expand into more than a dozen Leon County Schools and Robert Jackson’s ties to the organization go all the way back to it’s founding in 1972.

Jackson began competing at just 13 years old participating in a tug-of-war at the first game.

He would continue to play in a variety of events over the years. As of today 50 years later, he still competes in basketball, bowling and track and field.

During his time in the Special Olympics, Jackson has received many awards and medals but he said he never knew the day would come when he’d be inducted.

“It’s been 50 years. That was a long time ago and a long time coming but I made it,” said Athlete Robert Jackson. “I had no idea I would get there but I just stuck with it and stuck with it until I got right here.”

Melba Jacobs, she’s been volunteering since 1983 and became the Volunteer County Director in 2004.

Throughout her time with the organization, she’s been a coach for many sports, a trainer, an area director and served as a coach for three USA teams.

When Jacobs started as a director, there was only one school here in Leon County that participated in the Special Olympics and now there are 19 schools that participate.

She told WCTV that her passion for this program started very early on.

“I volunteered in college my senior year and immediately knew that this is something that I wanted to be a part of,” said volunteer Melba Jacobs. “It’s my passion in life and this is what I’m born to do.”

During her tenure, she’s served as a coach, director, trainer and committee member.

As for Jackson, he has a basketball game tomorrow at FSU which he said is his favorite sport.