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Former Positively Jax award winner says van gift fuels his mission to help others

A Positively Jax update about a previous winner who proves a thankful heart can lead to amazing things. About a year ago, John Marcus became the owner of a wheelchair accessible van. He says it has only fueled his mission to help others.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – John Marcus, who was showcased as a Positively Jax award winner in August 2020, is a man who proves a thankful heart can lead to amazing things.

He became the owner of a wheelchair-accessible van that holds a special place in our hearts here at News4Jax. That van once belonged to News4Jax executive producer Sharon Siegel-Cohen, who lost her fight with ALS. Marcus said the van has fueled his mission to help others.

Here’s a little history about Marcus because it’s that history that set his life on a different path.

Marcus was in his senior year at Raines High School in 2003 when he was involved a serious crash that left him paralyzed. Maybe he couldn’t move his legs but he was moved to help others. Through the years, he raised money by conducting charity drives. He visited schools to help motivate others. And he served as a mentor sharing his story.

That van and a motorized wheelchair, as well as funds that News4Jax viewers helped raise through a GoFundMe account, helped John fulfill his goal to motivate others. The donations came rolling in and that dream became his reality.

John Marcus became the owner of a wheelchair accessible van that holds a special place in our hearts here at News4Jax. It once belonged to News4Jax executive producer Sharon Siegel-Cohen, who lost her fight with ALS. (WJXT)

Fast forward to today. Marcus refuses to let the pandemic slow him down and is expanding his outreach

“I partnered with this group called ‘Silent Women Speaking,’” Marcus said. “So I’ve been sharing my story with those women who lost their kids to gun violence in the area. And I’ve been doing a lot of programs with that and just sharing my story with them and just letting them know that anything they’re going through, no matter what their situation is, stay strong.”

Marcus has his sights set on the next project.

“I do want to go to different cities like Orlando or Miami and share my story, let them know about the job markets project,” he said.

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away he talked about what he is thankful for.

“Definitely thankful for the van. I’m thankful for life, family, friends -- just being alive,” Marcus said.

Marcus mentioned he wanted to expand his outreach beyond Jacksonville. He hoped to be well on his way with that by now, but the pandemic put up a few roadblocks. But Marcus, in case you haven’t figured it out, isn’t one to let anything get in his way. He is determined and promises it will happen in the near future.


About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.