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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 29, 2014 02:58 PM
From: Representative Sid Michaels Kavulich
To: All House members
Subject: A condolence resolution celebrating the lives of Francis James Keenan and Jarod VonRueden and expressing condolences to their families upon their untimely and tragic passing.
A constituent of mine, Francis James Keenan, of Clarks Summit, Pa., and his climbing partner, Jarod VonRueden of Dodge City, Wisconsin, both perished on December 31, 2013 after reaching the summit of the nearly 23,000-foot Mount Aconcagua in Andes Mountain Range, the highest peak in North and South America.

I plan to introduce in the near future a condolence resolution for Mr. Keenan and Mr. VonRueden to note their successful summit atop Mount Aconcagua. The resolution also will note their additional climbing successes, which for Mr. Keenan included Mount Ranier in Washington State, Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Mount Cayambe in Ecuador, Mount Orizaba in Mexico, Mount Baker in Washington State, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Shuksan in Washington State, Mount Adams in Washington State and Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador and for Mr. VonRueden, which included Alaska’s Mount McKinley and various peaks in Ecuador.

The resolution also will give details of Mr. Keenan’s successes in life, which included: winning National History Day regional, state and national competitions, participating in various Civil War re-enactments, giving his time to assist with the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, having an essay on his grandfather’s World War II exploits published as part of Tom Brokaw’s book “Hometown Heroes,” participating in the National Leadership Forum on Foreign Intelligence at the invitation of Admiral William J. Crowe and attending Johns Hopkins University.

Further, Mr. Keenan’s academic knowledge, writings and work on the Gettysburg Battlefield had prompted Representative Harry Readshaw to invite Mr. Keenan to give a presentation at the age of 13 about the Civil War on the floor of the House. Some Members may remember Mr. Keenan speaking so fluently and eloquently about the subject with no notes for five minutes, which prompted a standing ovation.

The resolution will express condolences to Mr. Keenan’s and Mr. VonRueden’s family upon their loss. It also will honor and thank the rescuers, who worked on despite treacherous weather and other conditions on Mt. Aconcagua recover the bodies of Mr. Keenan and Mr. VonRueden more than a month after their deaths had occurred.

I hope you will join with me in sponsoring and supporting this resolution.

Introduced as HR853