By CHRIS MORRIS
Gary Jacobi is celebrating 50 years as a pharmacist. And like most professions, being a pharmacist today is a lot different than it was when Jacobi entered the field out of Purdue University in 1963.
More choices in medication, a few more regulations and keeping up with health insurance is a full-time job.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is Jacobi’s love for pharmacy and his customers. At 72, he still goes to work every day with a smile on his face and a passion to help those in need.
“I love it,” he said. “Every day I work in the pharmacy I get to help people, try to educate them and alleviate some fears.”
Jacobi and his wife Linda operated Floyds Knobs Pharmacy for 40 years before selling out to Rite Aid in 2006. He now works full-time at Rite Aid in Jeffersonville and enjoys helping new and old friends alike.
“I like interacting with patients,” he said. “If a patient was kind enough to come in Floyds Knobs Pharmacy, I was going to make every effort to be their friend. I made many friendships with people in the Knobs area.”
That attitude, along with his five decades of working in the profession and serving the community, led Jacobi to be named the 2013 recipient of the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance’s Joseph E. McSoley Pharmacist of the Year. He received the award last month at the group’s convention in Indianapolis.
The award is presented annually to a community pharmacist by the Community Academy of the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance. This award was created in 1996 to recognize a pharmacist who exemplifies the qualities of the namesake of the award, Joseph E. McSoley, who gave many years of faithful and caring service to his patients and his association, the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, according to a press release from the group.
Jacobi served one term on the Indiana Pharmacists Association Board of Directors and was the PEF golf chairman for 10 years helping to raise more than $50,000 for the foundation. He served three terms on the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. board.
He has been a state advocate for pharmacists and regularly attends legislation days at the Statehouse.
Jacobi said more education is needed to battle the ongoing abuse of prescription drugs.
“We have to try and help that [situation] any way we can,” he said. “Misuse of those drugs can cause so many problems. It’s a real issue.”
Jacobi said he is proud that he has been able to mentor those who have gone on to become nurses, doctors and pharmacists. He also said he has no plans to retire to his 400-acre farm in Greenville. He said he still loves being a pharmacist and helping those in need. He also said it’s an honor to be Indiana’s pharmacist of the year.
“I am very honored and humbled by it,” he said.