jon’s a childhood buddy of mine. he and i played football together. he stuck with it. he was always the purest person around our white-collar, suburban town, which is saying quite a bit when you realize vandalism was about the worst it got in our area. he was always just one of those guys who didn’t see a point to rebellion or screwing up…he worked hard, treated people with respect, and didn’t judge anyone.

i always thought his decision to go to west point was a weird one. after i grew up a little, it made more sense than anything i’ve ever done.

for me jon’s a reminder that we have some very smart, very compassionate young men over in iraq right now, which in the current mix of things sheds a ray of hope on an otherwise dire set of circumstances.

A 1998 graduate of St. Charles High School, Lt. Jonathon Monken graduated West Point Military Academy in 2002. Shortly thereafter, he was deployed to Kosovo, where he served as Military liaison with local community and school officials.

In that capacity, he became extremely concerned about the poor condition of the schools he visited and founded the Kosovo Education Initiative in response. Jon worked to secure financial backing from numerous sources including his father’s Rotary Club in St. Charles. Eventually, he collected $20,000 which was then distributed to superintendents of the local Muslim and Christian schools alike.

In February ’04, Jonathon was deployed to Iraq where he worked as Support Platoon Commander for a base that serves 600 outside Baqubah. To ensure the physical and mental health of the soldiers, it is essential for them to have access to exercise equipment – equipment which was lacking at that particular base. Again in response to a very real need, Lt. Monken “went to work” and through fund-raisers back home, was able to purchase in excess of $5,000 worth of exercise equipment which was subsequently shipped to his base.

And those are just the highlights of numerous service projects Lt. Monken has performed both in this country and abroad. He is currently stationed in Vilsek, Germany, with the 2nd Battalion of the 63rd Armored Regiment in the First Infantry Division, which is why he was unable to join us today.
In his stead, Jon’s parents Jon and Virginia are here to accept the award on his behalf. Understandably, they are quite proud of their son.

So are we!

– Red Cross + Hometown Hero Awarded to Jon Monken

here’s to hoping that our man munchkin gets himself home safe.

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