It’s official. Grant Korbel, SFA senior wildlife management major and current Director of Community Relations in SFA’s Driving Jacks organization, is leaving in order to concentrate on his upcoming graduation and last semester project.
“It’s my last year with the leadership position,” Korbel said. “I need to concentrate with graduating and it’s time to train someone else to take my place so that they can continue on with the relationship that Driving Jacks has with the community and the chamber.”
Driving Jacks, an SFA student-run on-campus organization, provides a safe, free and non-judgmental ride to SFA students and the Nacogdoches community. As of 2011, Driving Jacks has saved over 13,000 lives throughout SFA and the surrounding community.
In the fall of 2009 when Korbel first learned about the organization from friends who were already involved, he wanted to join. However, after barely missing the application deadline, he was forced to apply and join the following spring semester.
Korbel has been involved in the program for four years by connecting to SFA students and the community through the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce events, such as the Alive After Five event.
The organization, which was created in 2007 and became a chamber member in 2008, helps both sober and intoxicated people who need a safe ride home.
“All of the officials I have talked with, both University Police and NPD, are happy that we are getting people home safe,” Korbel said. “Also, we are dropping the number down of DUIs and alcohol related instances.”
As a chamber member, Driving Jacks has the opportunity to get the attention of the community and get the name out there for people to take advantage of possible bad situations and take care of them before they happen.
“The Chamber has been one of the most helpful organizations in getting the Driving Jacks’ name out to the community and helping the community understand what we do,” Korbel said.
With getting the name out there, being involved in chamber events is a must. Alive After Five events are a great way to do this.
“It’s an opportunity for memberships to come together in a confortable and casual setting to network and meet new business contacts,” said Kelly Daniel, Membership and Marketing Manager of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.
This month’s Alive After Five event was hosted with Laird Funeral Home in downtown Nacogdoches on Thursday, September 12.
“It was a more open venue,” Korbel said. “Normally, it’s tight nit.”
According to Korbel, there normally is no real seating or a way to converse comfortably.
In last week’s event, “they made it more about getting the people to talk – more about the community,” Korbel said.
However, Alive After Five events are not the only events that Driving Jacks are involved with. According to Daniel, Driving Jacks also volunteer for the Texas Blueberry Festival in June of every summer by directing the shuttle bus for the Pick Your Own Blueberry Farm and organize and produce the Blueberry Golf Bash.
“ I’m very impressed with the student organization,” Daniel said. “I believe they have a clear mission and understanding of their contribution and responsibilities to the school and community.”
The relationship between Driving Jacks and the chamber is very important to the safety and development of the community and college.
“We try to make ourselves available for them and they do the same for us,” Korbel said of the Chamber of Commerce. “It’s equal sharing. We talk highly of them and they talk highly of us.”
Although Korbel is leaving in order to pursue his last semester assignment, he will still have his many relationships with the chamber, businesses and community members.
“Several SFA students have participated in chamber events but Grant certainly stands out as a shining star,” Daniel said.
Korbel is widely known throughout the community because of his chamber involvement and will continue to rise.
“He brings fresh ideas to the committees,” Daniel continues to say of Korbel. “He is dependable and willing to pitch in for the benefit of Driving Jacks and the chamber.”
Driving Jacks is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and can be contacted by phone at 936.652.6600.