Senator Nr. 1
By John Clark, Senator No. 1856 Author of 'A Legacy in Leadership'
Not all young men have contributed as much to the worldwide movement as Senator No. 1, Joaquin V.Gonzalez of the Philippines.
This is his story, as told by 1952 Junior Chamber President Phillip T.R. Pugsley of Canada. Jake, as all his friends knew him, acted as voluntary Secretary General of Junior Chamber International for the 1950-51 term. This was a time when JCI operated wholly out of its officers' pockets.
In 1951 Jake was elected President of the Philippines Jaycees, three and a half years after the chapter had been established in Manila. In or about March 1952, Jake completed his term of office, but the job he had done was so amazing and inspiring that, at the annual convention, in Baguio City, it was unanimously agreed to change the constitution of the national body to enable Jake's re-election for another year.
Jake's wife was five months pregnant with their first child in Manila at the time. After the convention was over, he was speaking to her on the phone and sensed she was not feeling well. He rushed to the airport, where a charter flight of Jaycees was about to take off for Manila. One of his friends agreed to trade places with Jake.
A few minutes later the plane started to take off, but instead, due to some malfunction with the landing gear, crashed into a steel fence and burst into flames. Eleven Jaycees were killed or severely burned. Jake was dead.
When the JCI Senate was launched at the World congress in Melbourne, Australia, in September 1952, Jake was nominated by the Canadian delegation and posthumously designated as JCI Senator No. 1.
Phil Puglsley was then nominated and honered as JCI Senator No. 2.
John H. Armbruster of St. Louis, Missouri, became Senator No. 3.