April 15, 1942 - July 16, 2008
HRC to honor Wayne Jakino with Paul Hunter Award
By Renee Fajardo
Wayne Jakino's love of community welfare, philanthropic endeavors and political justice has endeared him to a family of thousands in the GLBT community. Appropriately, Jakino will be honored on Valentine's Day with the Colorado HRC's highest laurel, the Paul Hunter Award.
The award was conceived in 1993 and named after Paul Hunter, a gay activist who died in 1991 of AIDS. Hunter's legacy of 20 years of service to the GLBT community in Colorado has continued with the yearly recognition of individuals who exemplified his dedication to a safe and just community for all individuals, regardless of race, creed, gender, age or sexual orientation. Jakino has the distinction of joining 10 previous awardees that have demonstrated this commitment to creating positive social change and improving the quality of life.
Jakino has owned Charlie's Denver, a popular Capitol Hill bar, since 1981. He is a no-nonsense and to-the-point kind of guy, just what you would expect from a tavern owner. When it comes to his civic and philanthropic endeavors, he means business, too. Whatever Jakino sets his mind to, there is no doubt that it will be dealt with professionally and with the practical steel-willed determination of a man who doesn't take no for an answer.
A prime example of this can-do attitude is when Jakino attended the nations first gay rodeo in Reno, Nevada in the early '80s, Because of a challenge from Miss Rena Gay Rodeo, Jakino would form the second gay rodeo in the country, The Colorado Gay Rodeo Association. He would take the challenge one step further when, in 1985, along with Texas, California and Arizona, Jakino helped form the International Gay Rodeo Association. Jakino's purpose in founding this umbrella Rodeo organization was to standardize all rules and regulations of the gay rodeos through out the county, set safety standards and help foster an appreciation and understanding of rodeo. Then the IGRA really got down to business. That business was raising money for charity. To date, the IGRA and its 22 associate-member rodeos have raised over two million dollars for such wide ranging causes as AIDS awareness and research, breast cancer research, animal rights and other community, health and environmental organizations.
Jakino is an advocate and staunch supporter of local charities. He is a man who has learned his lessons about the service industry first hand. It is all about respect and giving back. What better way to show that you respect your community than through hands-on involvement? He has founded numerous events and supported many foundations that give to charitable causes. His association with charity fund raisers is impressive and includes the International Gay Square Dance Association, Mile High Bull's Eye Dart League, BACKTRACKS and Valentine Extravaganza (charity events for the Colorado AIDS Project). .Jakino is responsible for raising thousands upon thousands of dollars in Colorado for charity.
Jakino's spirit of giving back to the community does not just stop with charitable causes. He is driven to ensure the fair treatment of his business community and neighborhood as well. He is responsible for instituting the first citizen's advisory board for the Denver Police Department. Jakino also acts as a special consultant teacher to new cadets at the Police Academy.
Jakino has been instrumental in pushing for the revitalization of the Colfax business district in Denver, and he is a member of The Capitol Hill United Neighborhood, president of Colfax on the Hill business association and has served on many advisory boards for the city. If HRC was looking for a poster child, this was definitely their man. Jakino is a powerhouse of giving and dedication to the community.
HRC was founded in 1980 by Steve Endean to raise funds for gay-supportive congressional candidates. Initially the concept was to ensure that the GLBT community was represented in the U.S. Congress. In true trickle-down fashion that would make Reaganites blush, the HRC grew from a small group of highly organized political action committees (PACs) to an extremely large national and local group of highly organized PACs.
With 5,000,000 members and over 26 chapters, HRC is the nation's largest GLBT advocacy organization. Today HRC, in addition to providing financial support for political candidates, also mobilizes grassroots action in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect a fair-minded federal legislature, increases public understanding through innovative educational programs, provides informational services concerning health, family and legislative issues, effectively lobbies for civil rights legislation, provides law fellowships, maintains a data base of federal and state legislative enactments and acts as a networking entity for gay parents, veterans and businesses.
Wayne jakino was born in Durango, Colorado, and raised on a Ranch and Dairy Farm ten miles south of Durango. When it was time to go to college, he left the Western Slopes to attend Metropolitan State College in Denver, where he studied Art and Design. He also found the time in his busy life to attend Barnes College for a course of study in Business Administration.
After graduation, Mr. Jakino moved back to the southwest, where he owned and operated a restaurant and 3.2 club in Montrose, Colorado for five years.
Finally, in 1970, he moved to Denver to take a job with Foerster Designs, heading their new home projects. Five years later, he opened his own design firm: Jake Ltd. Designs. He was commissioned to design and furnish models for several of Denver's leading new home builders. A highlight of this portion of his life was designing Paul Harvey's office in Chicago.
Near the end of l984, influenced by his love of the Gay community, he sold his design business and joined the Charlie's operation as General Manager of the Denver bar.
A private man, Jakino came out to his family early on, but remained closeted in his business until 1981. This was a fateful year for both the Rodeo and Mr. Jakino as it was the year he discovered Gay Rodeo in Reno, Nevada. Prior to that, he had been a one to usually leave a bar holding a community function, show or benefit.
"1981 was a major turning point in my life," declares Jakino.
He became involved in the formation of the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association (CGRA), and was its first president. It was the discovery of the enjoyment to be found in working with and within the Gay community that inspired him to sell his business three years later.
Jakino has held a number of leadership positions over the years, and captured many honors in recognition of his contributions. He held the office of president of the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association for three years and was founding president of the International Gay Rodeo Association, serving in that role for two years. He served as Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo Director for the past six years. He was Chair of the Membership Committee of the International Gay Rodeo Association for two years. Finally, representing his community and business, he sits on the Board of Directors of Colfax on the Hill, one of Derwer's leading business associations.
Wayne passed away from a 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer on July 16, 2008