“It’s Not What We Gather, but What We Scatter That Defines the Kind of Life You Have Lived.” (The Legacy of Jon Francis)


bookDavid Francis is man of faith…and a person with a military background. Therefore, one would think he’d be prepared for anything life dishes out.  Not so… He and his family had their faith and very existence shaken to the core in July 2006, when their only son, Jon, age 24, did not return from scaling a mountain range in Central Idaho.  It is said that he did it for the spiritual experience and the physical challenge.  However, David learned that to experience God’s wonders… safety must also be in the equation.  This was a missing link in the aftermath of Jon’s short life.   However, in his omnipotent way, God gave back a different gift… namely the Jon Francis Foundation in order that others will appreciate, respect and love the things Jon did… but with safety and extra caution.

To learn about this tragic loss of life and the aftermath as told on “Shattered Lives”, please CLICK HERE

  • A search and rescue niche that isn’t served very well…and losing a child; abandonment by law enforcement;
  • Background of Jon’s skills and abilities, religious and career aspirations;
  • “Falling in Love” with the Sawtooth Mountains of Western Idaho;
  • All accidents are caused by a series of decisions, some of them bad;
  • The focus and beginning of the Jon Francis Foundation;
  • The chain of events….  Solo climbing, decisions about the route taken and educated guesses about what happened  … a huge boulder and further decisions;
  • Who presents a greater problem, amateurs or those who are experienced? “The invincibility” of young men in their 20’s;
  • Wilderness safety and the attitude of climbers who “go solo;”
  • Delilah asks, what is the minimum level of safety? And what was the response time to alert others of trouble?
  • “A typical screw-up” 24 hours too late;  Safety recommendations;
  • Wilderness survival classes – the importance of planning; staying within your safety zone;
  • Safety in numbers… “What if regrets”
  • Stats…..  The government keeps track of bank robberies, but not those who go missing in the wilderness;
  • Those who go missing in general – 140,000 per year;
  • Requirements of States to report the Adult missing- an unserved class;
  • “If we had a million dollars” for search and rescue – a sad situation;
  • Local, State  and Federal Challenges – “Our Life is Divided in Half” and the fallacies of the preparedness of law enforcement regarding search and rescue;
  • The search for Jon and local  law enforcement’s attitude;
  • Delilah’s discussion re the plight and  “priorities” regarding adult males in the scheme of the missing in general;
  •  “A family problem” -applicable to males who go missing, intimate partner violence;
  •  Delilah on lack of training, lack of funding, misplaced priorities,  “I don’t care attitude;”
  • It doesn’t impact the majority, therefore, “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • “Why should we risk others to rescue your loved one?
  • Why are auto accidents a higher priority?
  • How do you begin to turn this around?
  • “The groping thing… “What are we going to do as a Foundation?   Bringing some good from our loss?
  • To be a lifeline for other families… after law enforcement abandons the search;
  • Jon’s search as an example – $1,000 a day for 70 days…
  • Prevention – Their Wilderness Safety Education Kit – What it’s about- the basics;
  • Future safety goals; Beacons – used by skiers;
  • Writing the book  “Bringing Jon Home” – Collecting stories;
  • Documenting the search – A national case study for Search & Rescue;
  • “It took us a long time to get smart…”
  • Thank-you’s…and “Wailing;”
  • Availability of the book;
  • Collaboration with like organizations – “There are too many egos, no one is collaborating”;
  • The uniqueness of the Jon Francis organization;
  • Types of Fundraisers ;
  • The last note ever written by Jon – A registry at the summit;
  • “The Magic Wand Question” and David’s Response;
  • Technical resources and a family’s checklist/advice at a time when they are most distraught;


Contact: http://www.jonfrancis.org/  and… http://www.bringingjonhome.com/


A cairn is a manmade pile of stones, often in a conical form. They may mark the summit of a mountain or a memorial. Placed at regular intervals, they indicate a path across barren terrain or climbing routes. The Jon Francis Foundation (JFF), like a cairn, provides knowledge and acts as a guide to others who find themselves unwilling travelers on an unfamiliar path.






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