Fighting Ebola on the Frontlines

Newsletter issue: 
April 2015
News item date: 
Friday, April 24, 2015

By Emily Marquet (Volunteer '09 - '11)


Jon Kennedy visits community project while working on U.S. Government's response to Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

    Tall with thoughtful blue eyes, Jon Kennedy’s demeanor is calm, cool and collected. Deacon Patrick Moynihan recalls noting in his first conversation with Kennedy that “Jon seems older than his age … I knew I could rely on him and did so a lot.”     

Kennedy’s career path is consistent with the steady and determined work ethic he demonstrated as a Volunteer and staff member at Louverture Cleary School (LCS), where he was never one to shy away from a large task. “As a Volunteer at LCS, I learned to value and embrace work —whether it was burning trash at the incinerator, pouring concrete, or teaching students.” Jon has applied the processes and straightforward nature of work at LCS to the larger world.  

Kennedy graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 and immediately signed up to Volunteer (’09-’10) and then to serve as the Director of the Office of External Affairs (’10-‘12). After completing his service in Haiti, Kennedy enrolled at Georgetown University, where he earned prestigious Masters of Science in Foreign Service degree. Shortly after completing his program in spring 2014, Kennedy was hired as an information officer in USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Currently, he is serving in Liberia, participating in the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

His former colleagues all note Kennedy’s devotion to THP’s mission and his deep thoughtfulness. Obed Gilles (LCS ’09 and current Asst. Principal of LCS) worked for Kennedy in the Office of External Affairs. Gilles recalls, “Mr. Kennedy was a teacher, and a supervisor, and a great example. [Working in the OEA] was my first job…I had a LOT of weaknesses and he didn't judge me for that. A great part of my professional skills and my work ethic today are because of him. I don't think I will ever forget him.”

Kennedy’s contribution to THP and his ongoing devotion to a life of service means that there a few who would disagree with Gilles’ statement.