Need knows no boundaries of ethnicity, age, faith or gender. Neither do we.
Need knows no boundaries of ethnicity, age, faith or gender. Neither do we.

Faces of First Responders

At 30, John Stukenborg is one of the younger First Responders to Poverty at Catholic Charities of West Tennessee. First Responders are monthly donors to Catholic Charities.

“The connotation of a First Responder just really resonated with me,’’ said John, a father of two with one on the way. “While we have been deemed the most charitable city in the country, we also have the biggest gap between those who have and those who have not. Being a First Responder helps bridge that gap.’’

During the season of Lent, Catholic Charities is highlighting First Responders because monthly donors are vital to our ability to continue in our mission. As parents of a young and growing family, John and his wife, Ann-Katherine, have a monthly budget conversation that includes giving to their parish, Catholic Charities and some other ministries.

“Making it a priority now will allow the habit of giving to grow over time,” John said. “It’s a similar philosophy to when it comes to retirement planning. You’ve got to get used to not seeing that money in your paycheck.”

John is a recruiter for a life sciences company and his wife works part-time as an early intervention specialist for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.  

John is completing his second term on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities. He also has done volunteer work with Room in the Inn, Dorothy Day House and St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen. A lifelong Catholic and Memphian, he is a parishioner at St. Louis Catholic Church. John graduated from Christian Brothers High School, Mississippi State University for undergraduate studies, and Christian Brothers University for an MBA.

“Serving in some capacity for faith-based organizations is my hobby,” he said. ‘‘My hope is that when the time is right I can find an opportunity to serve with my daughters,’’ who are 3 ½ and 1 ½.

John acknowledges that he is in a busy season of life and mentioned this as one reason he appreciates the chance to be a First Responder to Catholic Charities.

“Where I can’t always be present to serve, I know my giving is getting into the hands of the people who need it most.’’