Committed to Tampa Bay – Past, Present, Future
On May 9, 1980, when Bill DeYoung heard that the Summit Venture had collided with the Skyway Bridge, collapsing the southbound span, the first person he called was his roommate, Frank Jakes, then a paralegal working at a Tampa law firm. After a career in journalism throughout Florida, DeYoung’s memory of that day led to his first novel ‘Skyway – The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down.’ While researching his book, DeYoung learned that there was no memorial for the 35 victims of the tragedy. DeYoung was determined to rectify this grotesque oversight and wanted to form a charity to fund and erect a memorial. Again, the first person he called was his friend, Jakes, now a partner at Johnson Pope. Moved by DeYoung’s vision and passion, Jakes volunteered to serve the Skyway Memorial Project as pro bono counsel and also as a Board member. On May 9, 2015 – thirty five years after the tragedy – the Skyway Memorial Project unveiled and dedicated the memorial to the victims. Johnson Pope is proud to have served as pro bono counsel for this important effort. Our firm’s roots run deep in the Tampa Bay community.