Selma resident James Sova enjoys a cigar on the front porch of his apartment Wednesday afternoon with his two dogs by his side. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)
Selma resident James Sova enjoys a cigar on the front porch of his apartment Wednesday afternoon with his two dogs by his side. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

The Dart: Sova recounts brushes with historical figures

Published 8:07pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Editor’s note: The Dart is a weekly feature, where reporters throw a dart at a map of Selma to find a random location for a story.

By Scottie Brown

The Selma Times-Journal

James Sova, or just “J” to simplify things according to him, has led an interesting life meeting different people along the way, and he chalks much of it up to luck.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Sova said. “I wasn’t trying to project myself at them.”

At the age of 13, Sova had the opportunity to meet John Fitzgerald Kennedy while he was running for president. Sova was still living in his hometown of Chicago and had the opportunity to handout gimmicks during a political rally where Kennedy was speaking.

“I was going up and down the aisles handing out stuff and the guy on the stage goes ‘here’s our nominee,’ and Kennedy comes down with his Secret Service,” Savo said. “I go down to shake his hand, and I got pushed away by the Secret Service. Kennedy looked at the guy, kind of frowned, and he came back to me to shake my hand after I was pushed aside by the Secret Service. He didn’t have to do it. It was just spontaneous.”

Kennedy is not the only famous politician Sova can boast about meeting.

Sova, who spent 30 years in the Air Force as a paramedic, was able to travel over much of Europe and Asia, and after his first tour in Vietnam, Sova came back to Chicago and spent time campaigning for then Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

“He was the boss,” Savo said. “Everybody respected him. He would throw parties for all the precinct captains. They would be in his neighborhood.”

Sova even spent 10 years in Las Vegas, where he worked for the Las Vegas Sun, a travel company and even a health spa. Eventually, Savo moved to Selma, the home of his ex-wife.

“I enjoy it,” Savo said. “It’s an interesting place. It’s got a lot of history here. When I first got here, people were really friendly. They’d say ‘hello’ on the streets. It’s just a nice place.”

Savo lives in Selma with his two dogs Tripper and Lady Sally Be Good.

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