Turning Tragedy Into Meaning At Jacob’s House In Temecula

Former Temecula City Manager Shawn Nelson said he and his wife had two choices after losing their son: symbolize his life with meaning, or crawl in a hole.

A home in Temecula is getting readied to open for families upended by sudden crisis.

Jacob’s House located at 31525 Jedediah Smith in Santiago Estates is scheduled to begin welcoming visitors this fall. After renovations are completed, the existing 3,800-square-foot single-story home situated on 2.3 acres—less than a mile from the soon-to-open Temecula Valley Hospital—will serve as a haven by providing temporary hospitality for families whose loved ones are undergoing treatment for serious illness or injury.

“It’s a safe, nurturing place for families who've been hit by tragedy,” said Shawn Nelson, who served as permanent Temecula City Manager from July 1999 through December 2011 and now works full time with the Jacob’s House Foundation that he created and chairs with his wife, Stephanie.

The project is personal. Jacob's House is named after the Nelson's son, who in October 2006 died from injuries sustained during a solo-vehicle crash on the 15 Freeway, just south of Temecula.

He was behind the wheel and was just 24 years old.

“Jacob was a beautiful human being and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Nelson said.

The former city manager said he and his wife had two choices after losing their son: symbolize his life with meaning, or crawl in a hole.

“Tragedy drove us to do something positive,” he said.

So a little more than six years later, Jacob's House is underway and plans are moving forward. After generating enough donations for a down payment, the residence was purchased by the Jacob's House Foundation for $790,000, Nelson said. Mission Oaks National Bank in Temecula put the loan together on the property and Murrieta's Rancho Family Medical Group pledged to offset the monthly mortgage payments, Nelson said.

Additionally, minor modifications are planned to expand the facility to house up to four families at a time; local companies have agreed to help offset maintenance costs; dozens of local residents and businesses have donated to the cause, and fundraising efforts continue, according to Nelson.

“It’s truly been a community effort. We are trying to open in conjunction with the hospital opening this fall,” Nelson continued, noting that a partnership between Jacob’s House and the hospital already exists. “We are going to help hundreds and hundreds of families in the future.”

For more information, click here. Watch the attached video to hear Nelson's story.

Jaclyn Granillo February 04, 2013 at 05:14 PM
As words like REZ10 and Cash can wound our family and did wound us, you can never hurt my brother and never take away the amazing life he lived on this earth and the several lives he touched in the short life he lived. His maker forgave him the moment he walked through those gates so who are you to judge. My parents are warriors and have taken a tragedy and have done something to help families in crisis. Jacob’s mistake and the memory of his beautiful heart became my parent’s passion to help families. This hospitality house should be named after Jacob, because it would not have been possible if it were not for my parents and supporters in this community, and because of Jacob, drives the passion and perseverance to succeed and overcome the trials and heartaches and evil in this world and ultimately build ‘Jacob’s House’ to stand the test of time and help those who are hurting. Lastly, Jacob Andrew Nelson was AMAZING and no one, no words, will ever change that. To all the kind comments and supporters of Jacob’s House, our family is forever grateful to you.
REZ10 February 05, 2013 at 08:29 AM
Our actions will always speak louder than words...
Julianna Lee February 05, 2013 at 08:48 AM
If that was my son, God forbid, (my heart goes out to the parents), but I would hope, that I would do something to combat drunk driving offenders, like joining forces with Madd, hopefully, saving some other parents, from going through what I was going through.
Julianna Lee February 05, 2013 at 08:53 AM
Maybe a rehab, for repeat drunk drivers, and call that Jacobs House. I also agree with the lady who said something about tolerence, remember many people reading this may have lost children to a drunk driver. Peace and love to the family on their sad loss.
FedupTem March 29, 2013 at 12:10 AM
My brother died as a result of drunk driving in 1988. Driving drunk and killing yourself is NOT A TRAGEDY, a child dying of cancer is a tragedy! I won't donate a dime to Jacob's house. Shawn Nelson has over a 2 million dollar pension from the tax payers, doubled dipped as a consultant to the city of Temecula, and has free health care for the rest of his life. He simply used his status from working with the city to get the donors. It's a free country and the donors can do as they wish, but don't doubt for a minute that they have and want influence down at Temecula City Hall. If it wasn't Shawn Nelson, I bet dollars to donuts someone else wouldn't have got those donations....And don't get me started on cronie idea of naming a park in this city after his son's name. Finally enough public outcry stopped it.


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