Steven Stefanowicz was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After thirty years as a full-time musician, he’s changed that career into a hobby and started working for the Lighthouse.
Steven was born prematurely and spent time in an incubator, where the oxygen therapy did damage to his eyes. He was mainstreamed at school growing up, learning orientation and mobility skills from a man who worked with him from preschool through high school, and ended up as the godfather of his child.
Steven is an administrative specialist for the Lighthouse’s Base Supply Store located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of his home in Tacoma. He’s been at the Lighthouse since February 25, 2019, learning everything he can about fire extinguishers and how to schedule service for them so they’re running and ready to go when needed.
“In my small ways I’m keeping the soldiers safe,” he says. “We’re preventing all types of fires from harming soldiers and their family members. I’m learning new things every day.”
His job requires him to travel around the base and talk to the soldiers. He says they’re curious to know more about how he manages his life and his schedule, and he’s happy to tell them about it. He used to teach independent living services for people fifty-five and older with visual impairments. “I’d go into their homes and teach them to cook-clean-sew-mince-slice-dice, that kind of thing.”
At 52, Steven was looking for more predictability than the musician’s life. “My wife, my son, and my animals are the light of my life.”
“When I played music there was stuff to worry about every day. Now I do gigs once a month and I pick the ones I want,” he says. “Now that it’s a hobby, I can enjoy it more.”
He plays guitar and sings, performing at jazz gigs with his band “The Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra,” which he’s been a member of for fifteen years.
His time at the Lighthouse has been a fun learning experience.
“I like hanging out with the soldiers,” he says. “They’re respectful and glad that we’re here”
“I’m glad to be a part of this Lighthouse family.”