Member in Mission: John Scheffler
Member In Mission John Scheffler
by. Kelly Thurber
John Scheffler was one of the very first people who talked with me and connected with me when we first visited Good Sam. I seemed to see him everywhere! As I started to get more involved at church his name popped up as the point of contact or as a good person to talk to about their experience over and over again. How much can one person be involved in? Turns out when you retire and choose a path of “Professional Volunteer” you can be involved in quite a lot. It’s not about how much he can do though, it’s about a calling and openness to give small amounts of his time that make a big impact.
John moved to the area in 1997 with the Navy, bringing his wife Cyndi and their two girls Carol & Amy, who are now grown and married. Having been baptized and raised in the Lutheran Church and even attending Lutheran elementary and high schools, each duty station they sought a Lutheran Church. So when they moved to Pax, John pulled out the best 90’s technology for finding a church – the phone book! He found Good Samaritan and was given the rather cryptic instructions of where to find it in Millison Plaza: “in the basement under the restaurant, next to the art studio” (ok, so it was really under a bar & beside a tattoo parlor). Read More.
After his retirement from the Navy in 2005, he spent the next 9 years as a contractor. Following the passing of his wife Cyndi in 2013, he began looking for an alternate career, and in 2014 he left his job and chose to become a professional volunteer serving his community. John and his family were first introduced to Hospice as his wife spent her last weeks there. This experience led John to a passion for health care advocacy and eventually landed him on the St. Mary’s Hospice Board. Every week he spends a couple hours in the office helping with admin tasks. He also helps with their annual events such as the Run & Fun Walk fundraiser, Festival of Trees, and Camp Sunrise for kids who have experienced losses . His very first volunteer experience was helping with this camp in 2014, and he subsequently has had the privilege of presenting veteran’s honor certificates and occasionally serving specific Hospice patients.
From Choir to Men’s Word & Prayer Bible Study to Finance Team – John has been active at Good Sam in these quiet roles for decades, but he is also instrumental in several other programs in the church and community as well. Although he doesn’t remember exactly how he initially became involved with the Saint Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen, over time he answered more requests to volunteer and is now the lead volunteer for Good Sam’s monthly 3rd Saturday breakfast at the soup kitchen – planning the meal and coordinating volunteers in cooking and serving . He is always happy to welcome new volunteers who have an interest in checking it out. Those three hours on one Saturday each month feed dozens of men, women and children.
If you don’t have a middle schooler, you may not know that John is also the co-lead for Confirmation with Jennifer Normyle. Each week John uses his gifts to connect with and guide our kids through confirmation topics! But John’s love of working with youth also extends to his participation in the reading tutoring program at Carver Elementary (a partnership started by Gennifer Koebke 3 years ago with the Title 1 school that serves Good Sam’s neighborhood). He continues to go for one hour every Thursday morning to work with students on their reading and gets to share in the joy of reaching their goals as their skills and confidence improve. After traveling to Guatemala last fall, he enjoyed using his very rudimentary Spanish to talk with a student in both Spanish and English.
Thank you John for your servant heart and cheerful spirit and for sharing your personal journey into mission.