Jon Scharfenberger was an extraordinary young man and dedicated pro-life advocate. He entered into heaven today but his legacy remains with us, calling each of us to give all of ourselves to protecting the lives of others.
I met Jon in the summer of 2010 at the headquarters of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, DC. He was working in the Political Department, which was one of his stations during his summer-long internship with Students for Life of America. I was the Co-Director for the National Right to Life Academy, a program for pro-life students. All of us young people at NRLC were close. We organized Ultimate Frisbee games on the Memorial Mall after work and spent weekends exploring the happening places in DC.
Jon and I never missed a chance to talk politics. The 2010 elections were approaching and we were following every twist and turn of the key races. We particularly enjoyed watching (numerous times) the memorable clip in which Carly Fiorina, the pro-life Republican who was running against Barbara Boxer in California, didn’t realize her microphone was on and unwittingly (though hilariously) poked fun at Boxer’s hairstyle on live television.
Four of us went kayaking on the Potomac that summer. After kayaking about an hour, we noticed some storm clouds behind the buildings in the distance. A summer storm was quickly approaching. Jon and I shared a kayak and headed to shore. We didn’t even make it to the other side of the river before the heavy rains hit.
Thankfully we were able to paddle our way under a bridge where we waited out the storm. The two other pro-life advocates weren’t so lucky. They capsized in the middle of the Potomac and had some bruises and waterlogged electronics to show for the outing. Nevertheless, the adventure was unforgettable and will remain one of my favorite moments with Jon.
Jon’s heartfelt concern for unborn children and mothers in need was truly inspiring. At such a young age, Jon provided people of all ages a shining example of total selfless giving of oneself to the cause of life. Often young people feel they are not old enough or experienced enough to have much of an impact. Jon’s life should embolden pro-life young people to get out there and make a difference. Jon never wavered or held reservations about speaking out for life. Our time on this earth is so limited. We can’t miss one moment to stand up for the value of human life while we’re here. Jon never did.
The greatest way we can honor Jon is to carry on his legacy by continuing with renewed vigor to fight for protection for those most at risk in our society, namely the unborn.
Thank you, Jon. May God grant you His peace.