On October 8, 2011, SFLA’s Field Director, Kortney Blythe Gordon, her preborn daughter, Sophy, and SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus Coordinator, Jon Scharfenberger, were involved in a tragic car accident after leaving a Students for Life training in Georgia. Kortney and Sophy were killed in the accident, and Jon passed just 10 days after.
In light of Students for Life of America’s tragic loss of Kortney, Sophy, and Jon, we have decided to give Everyday Hero Awards in their honor. SFLA’s logo is a candle lighting another candle, a symbol of our mission to train and equip this generation of pro-life activists to become the leaders who will end abortion in our nation. Kortney and Jon lived their lives like the candle in our logo, lighting candles in the darkness, everywhere they went, which are now shining bright for the pro-life movement. And while Kortney and Jon are no longer here on this earth, we know that the candles they lit during their time here are burning strong – saving lives, lighting other candles, and changing our nation.
It is my hope that our annual Everyday Heroes Awards not only serve to honor the memory of our dear friends, but also to thank those who are on the front-lines of this human rights struggle and inspire you to take action for Life on your campus and in your community.
2013 Kortney Blythe Gordon Everyday Hero Award Winner: Julie Beyel
Julie Beyel is currently the Director of Client Services for Care Net of Central New York. God has given Julie a ‘missionary’ spirit and He uses her in the mission field created by the legalization of abortion. Not called to give up, stay home or be silent, Julie has been called to fight on the front lines and has saved the lives over 1,000 children through sidewalk counseling. In 2004, Julie began volunteering with Expectant Mother Care (EMC) as a sidewalk counselor backed by a mobile unit. During that time, Julie was up before the sun every day and out on the sidewalks, despite blistering heat or frigid snowstorms. While at EMC, she also managed the intern program and directed a pregnancy center. Julie acknowledges that she has put her own dreams and goals on hold in order to serve in the pro-life movement, trusting that God holds her future and will provide for her.
For putting action into the pro-life movement’s words, for stepping up to reach those women who feel that they have no hope left, SFLA is pleased to name Julie Beyel, the 2013 Kortney Blythe Gordon Everyday Hero Award Winner.
2013 Sophy Joy Gordon Everyday Hero Award Winner: Foster Friess
Foster Friess has been heralded as the “longest surviving successful growth stock picker” by Business Week and “one of the greatest investors of the last century” by CNBC. But more importantly, he is a born-again Christian who has invited God to be the “Chairman of the Board” of his life. Twelve years ago, Foster and his wife Lynn sold their wholly owned investment management firm and devoted their lives to carrying others’ burdens. He and Lynn have gained their philanthropic inspiration from Galatians 6:2 which says, “When we carry one another’s burdens we fulfill the law of Christ” and Matthew 25:35-40: “When you do it for the least of my brethren, you do it for me.” Together they support mobile medical units in the United States, water purification efforts in Malawi and Haiti, emergency aid for disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, and a number of pro-life organizations, including many pregnancy help centers. Foster’s behind-the-scenes transforming of our world through pregnancy help centers, worldwide health care outreach, and humanitarian efforts is a true whole life approach to caring for the most vulnerable among us.
For his unwavering commitment to serving his fellow brethren, SFLA is pleased to name Foster Friess, the 2013 Sophy Joy Gordon Everyday Hero Award Winner.
2013 Jonathan Daniel Scharfenberger Everyday Hero Award Winner: Benjamin Clapper
Benjamin Clapper is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation. Louisiana Right to Life works through education, activism, legislation, and service to restore the right to life in Louisiana by opposing abortion, euthanasia, and other life destroying actions. Benjamin actively worked with Students for Life of America while in college and founded Louisiana Students for Life (LSL), which networks, educates, and activates pro-life students throughout Louisiana. He gradated from Loyola University – New Orleans as the Ignatian Award winner for Outstanding Male Graduate. He is married to Kristen, and they have two beautiful daughters, Kate and Mary Rose.
Because of his tireless dedication to the youth pro-life movement, his passion and creativity in saving lives, and for being such a great role model for all of you here today, SFLA is pleased to name Benjamin Clapper the 2013 Jonathan Daniel Scharfenberger Everyday Hero Award Winner.